History of FEMA woes detailed

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The federal government's mishandling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe is only the latest bungling in a national disaster-response system that for years has been fraught with waste and fraud.

A South Florida Sun-Sentinel investigation has found that the Federal Emergency Management Agency in five years poured at least $330 million into communities spared the devastating effects of fires, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes.

In the country's poorest city neighborhoods, disaster assistance is considered an entitlement. Taxpayer money meant to help victims recover from catastrophes, instead has gone to thousands of people who suffered little or no damage, including these cases:

Los Angeles-area residents got $5.2 million for 2003 wildfires, which burned more than 25 miles away.

People in the Detroit area got $168.5 million for a 2000 rainstorm that the man who was mayor at the time, Dennis Archer, doesn't even remember.

Funding of $21.6 million for clothing losses alone went to Cleveland residents for a 2003 storm that brought less than an inch and a half of rain.

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