(Getty Images File Photo)
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross rented out more than 45 hotel rooms at New York City's Soho Grand Hotel while providing relief after Superstorm Sandy.
Even with the discounted nightly rate of $310, they report, by the time the relief workers check out on Friday the bill for just the Red Cross will be a shocking $181,000.
Surprisingly for some, the Red Cross actually rented out 45 of the rooms at this particular hotel, and FEMA only rented out 3.
The Wall Street Journal adds in an article titled, "In a Pinch, Aid Workers Go Upscale":
The hotel, noted by Time magazine in 2010 as a "favorite of the city's entertainment and fashion elite," is one of 40 hotels where some of the 6,000 relief workers sent to the area have been staying, [Red Cross spokeswoman Laura Howe] said. Most are staying at midlevel hotels such as the Hilton Garden Inn or the Hampton Inn.
The spokeswoman said other Red Cross staff are staying in shelters or with family and friends, and some 200 are on a Navy vessel off Staten Island.
"Every effort is made to house employees where government rates can be procured and when that isn't possible, to move them as quickly as possible to places that meet those requirements," FEMA said in statement.
The agency dispatched more than 7,700 personnel in response to Sandy, Mr. Watson said. Some 1,500 workers have been staying on government-owned ships, with others are scattered at hotels across the region. [Emphasis added]
New York City is a notoriously crowded and expensive city, and the workers obviously have to stay somewhere (additionally, so many hotels were filled post-Sandy that beggars really couldn't be choosers). But it is certainly an interesting side-note to where hundreds of thousands of dollars go when disaster strikes such a crowded area.
Moreover, FEMA's statement -- that they make "every effort" to house employees where federal rates can be procured -- would presumably apply to upscale hotels like the Soho Grand, since they received a discounted rate of $310 per night.