The people who need help the most after disasters are least able to get it from the federal government. Internal records show that FEMA knows it has a problem.

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When a hurricane destroys your house, the clock starts ticking every day without stable shelter, puts survivors in danger. Sick people stop taking their medications. Medical devices stop working. Heat and mold threaten everyone’s health. The federal government is supposed to help prevent that disaster after the disaster. But an NPR investigation finds that the people who need help the most are often less likely to get it and the government knows this. NPR’s Rebecca Hersher has the first of three reports about who gets help after disasters.

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