Supporting Communities Affected by Disasters
Every year, disasters put millions of Americans in danger and destroy billions of dollars worth of property. But every year, all year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is on the job —as part of a team helping communities reduce their risk, helping emergency officials prepare for all hazards, and helping people get back on their feet after their lives are disrupted by a disaster.
FEMA coordinates federal operational and logistical disaster response capability needed to save and sustain lives, minimize suffering, and protect property in a timely and effective manner in communities that become overwhelmed by disasters.
Responding to Disasters and Helping to Recover
FEMA assists in community recovery through a number of channels, including obligating monetary aid for both individual assistance and public assistance.
Individual assistance may include housing, crisis counseling, legal services, disaster case management, and unemployment assistance, among other services.
Public Assistance may include reimbursement to clear debris and rebuild roads, schools, libraries, and other public facilities.
Improving Response and Recovery
In 2011 FEMA enhanced its response and recovery efforts, preparing for and responding to a record 98 major disaster declarations, 26 emergency declarations, and 112 Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG) declarations. These efforts spanned an historic fire season that burned more than 7.8 million acres of wild lands; devastating severe storms that spawned tornadoes and thunderstorms from Arkansas to Illinois to New England; and the dynamic hurricane season, including Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee for which we leveraged our authorities and plans to strategically prepare and respond.
In the wake of deadly tornadoes that devastated the south and midwest in the spring of 2011, FEMA worked aggressively to support the impacted communities and the survivors in their desire to build back safer through a series of initiatives to promote safe rooms and public and private facilities throughout the impacted regions.
The team brought together building science engineers, grant, communication and environmental specialists, and emergency managers to work with partners at the state and local levels. Through their unity of effort the agency demonstrated what can be accomplished when all are dedicated to the purpose of building back strong.