The Federal Emergency Management Agency is understaffed by 26 percent, according to recent documents that were obtained by Reuters through a Freedom of Information Act.
As FEMA braces for the 2018 hurricane season, the organization continues to hire and train the disaster workforce and improve their performance during deployments to areas affected by natural disasters, a FEMA spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“FEMA flatly rejects the assertion that we are entering hurricane season ‘stretched thin,'” the spokesperson said.
Still, about 500 reservists ignored FEMA’s call for deployment during the slew of natural disasters that occurred in 2017 after 4,500 staffers were deployed to Texas to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey, according to Reuters reports.
Thousands of FEMA reservists were sent to Florida, Puerto Rice, California and elsewhere for disaster relief, but FEMA says reservists who failed to deploy did not respond to the 24-hour prior notification that was sent to them, and thus the system automatically declined on their behalf.
Reservists can reject up to three assignments a year, but that leaves the agency, who already has only 33 percent of the disaster-response workforce available to them, short of help, Reuters reported. (RELATED: FEMA First Responders May Have To Return Overtime Pay From Disaster Relief Work)
Still, FEMA insists that their workforce has nearly 19,000 workers and are ready to respond to major disasters at a moments notice.
“FEMA and our staff are prepared and ready to support our state, local and tribal partners this hurricane season,” said the spokesperson.
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