Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "Federal Emergency Management Agency" ...

  • When FEMA Fails

    Elizabeth Shogren's investigation of the Federal Emergency Management Agency revealed that the agency meant to help Americans when disaster strikes is so out of sync with the the realities of climate change that it wastes vast amounts of federal funding and puts communities art risk of being repeatedly damaged.
  • FEMA's Fickle Flood Maps

    We've read for years now about anger at the high costs to property owners of changes to FEMA's flood maps, but we hadn't read this before: As homeowners around the nation protest skyrocketing premiums for federal flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has quietly moved the lines on its flood maps to benefit hundreds of oceanfront condo buildings and million-dollar homes, according to an analysis of federal records by NBC News. Reporters Bill Dedman and Miranda Leitsinger produced a three-part series showing that FEMA had approved those revisions -- removing more than 500 waterfront properties from the highest-risk flood zone and saving the owners as much as 97 percent on the premiums they pay into the financially strained National Flood Insurance Program – even as owners of homes and businesses far from a water source were being added to the maps asked to pay far more for their coverage.
  • "FEMA's Toxic Bureaucracy"

    After nearly a year of reporting, the CBS News Investigative Unit reported a string of "discrimination, sexual harassment and cronyism in the New Orleans" FEMA office. Several staff members went on camera to share stories revealing the "toxic environment" of the FEMA office. Just a day after the story aired, an internal investigation was launched by FEMA, and the Chief of Staff was quickly transferred.
  • Hung Out to Dry

    FEMA is currently in the “final stages of revisiting all of the flood maps throughout the country”. The investigation revealed major problems in the mapping and these mistakes could be costly to the residents in these areas. These residents living in the “flood zones” must pay flood insurance or risk losing their homes. Many of the residents believe they should be excluded from the flood area and come together to prove FEMA wrong.
  • American's Neglected Levees

    Scripps reviewed the federal and state level system of levee oversight and found that no one at any level of government knows where all levees are, what they protect or what shape they are in. Thousands of communities are being forced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get levees certified under a national upgrade of flood hazard maps, but even FEMA admits the standards are outdated and don't accurately reflect the risks to people behind them.
  • The CDC, FEMA and formaldehyde

    In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, people who moved into trailers provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency almost immediately complained about the air quality in them. As complaints mounter, FEMA had an agent of the center for Disease Control conduct a test of the formaldehyde found inside the trailers. Joaquin Sapien explains why it took more than two years for the government to admit that formaldehyde levels in many of the trailers were high enough to increase the risk of caner and repiratory illnesses.
  • Hurricane Giveaway

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)kept tens of millions of dollars worth of new household supplies meant for Katrina victims stored in FEMA warehouses for two years. In early 2008, the agency decided the items were no longer needed and declared them surplus, even though agencies that help hurricane victims told CNN they desperately needed those types of items. The supplies ended up with federal and state agencies, but not Katrina victims. The investigation revealed the groups that are helping rehouse Katrina victims did not know these items existed. Furthermore, CNN discovered a serious disconnect between FEMA and the states, as well as within states themselves. Louisiana's surplus agency passed on taking any of the surplus items because the director said he was never told they were still needed. Mississippi, on the other hand, took the supplies and gave them to state prisons and other agencies, but not to non-profits helping Katrina victims. Those non-profits told CNN they never knew these items were available.
  • A Chief Under Fire

    The story looks at "corruption and malfeasance at the federally-funded, volunteer fire department, the Boone County Fire Protection District." Specifically, the author reveals a misuse of "federal grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and public, taxpayer money for the purchase of an 8-foot bronze statue in front of the department's Columbia, Mo. headquarters.
  • FEMA; A Legacy of Waste

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel "exposed waste in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's crisis counseling grants, meant to help people overcome disaster-related mental health problems." In Florida, the $23 million counseling program paid for "puppet shows, Hurricane Bingo and yoga on the beach." Only one fourth of the program supervisors were qualified. Also, the Sun-Sentinel found that "other states had used FEMA grants totaling more than $445 million on activities such as gardening workshops, martial arts classes and "Beat Stress with Crafts." As a result of these stories, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General and the state of Florida each launched an investigation, and a bill was introduced in Congress to "prohibit spending the grants on puppet shows and similar activities."
  • Cashing in on Disaster

    This investigation started with the observation that many more Floridians were receiving disaster relief funds than were actually affected by the 2004 storms. The story went on to reveal that some relatively unaffected parts of Florida received even more aid than areas that took a direct hit. Residents of Miami-Dade County got more than $21 million, though the actual damage done there was equivalent to a bad thunderstorm. Reporters found that FEMA inspectors often received inadequate training. Results from the story include a state legislative investigation into the hurricane payments and even involvement from the federal Department of Homeland Security.