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FEMA: Don’t Count on Feds Right After Hurricanes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned local governments not to count on the federal government to step in immediately after a natural disaster.
May 21, 2018

At the annual Governor’s Conference on Hurricanes in Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) warned local governments not to count on the federal government to step in immediately after a natural disaster. FEMA Administrator Brock Long stressed that federal agencies that offer disaster assistance were stretched thin after the 2017 hurricane season and wildfires.

“I’m asking you to consider pre-event management concepts,” Long told officials, urging them to devise ways to provide food and water and essential services to their own communities. He urged local and state governments to strengthen their own capabilities to ensure communication systems and cleanup efforts.

With the start of the six-month hurricane season, Long said FEMA isn’t “going to back away” when disasters strike. But he said local and state capabilities need to be strengthened, such as signing deals with private water bottlers and debris haulers and hardening local communications systems. In terms of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), Long said affordability issues need to be addressed, as well as its solvency issues.

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