Lessons Not Learned: Forget About Disaster Housing from FEMA

If you think of humans as the creatures most capable of learning from past mistakes, the ongoing saga of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans after the federal levees breached should give you some pause. Long pause.

Not only, as was reported here Monday, is the Army Corps of Engineers repeating its mistakes in choosing the technically not superior method of flood protection (pleading not enough money to do it the right way), now comes the Homeland Security inspector general to say that FEMA has learned nothing from its disastrous handling of the temporary housing problem post-Katrina in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. The nut graf:

But FEMA's reliance on costly programs to provide trailers and mobile homes to survivors, and the government's inability to swiftly and cheaply repair damaged housing, especially rental units, mean the agency is not up to handling a Katrina-scale event...

Those "costly programs" are the same ones that resulted in thousands of people being cooped up in improperly prepared trailers that "outgassed" formaldehyde fumes, and that government "inability" has doomed at least a hundred thousand people to long-term exile from their homes.

Lessons learned? Try Bonobos.