I plan to do a series of posts dealing with the record number of costs of disasters in 2011 and the simultaneous cutting of federal funds to support emergency preparedness and emergency management. We are in for some serious trouble in the near future with disasters growing in cost, complexity, and effects while Congress continues to make drastic cuts to FEMA and DHS, among other federal agencies.
Here is one aspect:The national Journal published an article titled ” Funding Cuts Threaten Public Health Disaster Preparedness, Study Finds” Full report can be found here. Some excerpts:
Public health funding cuts are undermining programs that protect Americans from infectious disease outbreaks, bioterrorist attacks, and natural disasters, according toa Trust for America’s Health report released on Tuesday.“We’ve documented how preparedness has been on an upward trajectory” over the past 10years, said Trust for America’s Health director Jeff Levi. “But the economic crisis has changed the story. Now we’re seeing a decade’s worth of preparedness eroding in front of our eyes.”
Funding reductions could affect preparedness gains made since 9/11, Levi said. The cuts could impede communities’ ability to distribute vaccines, test for chemical and biological agents, and coordinate disaster response.
Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation assessed the nation’s emergency infrastructure, and looked both at funding cuts so far and projections of future cuts. Future cuts include the mandatory reductions that could result from the failure of the deficit-reduction super committee to reach an agreement. The report found that 40 states and D.C. have cut their public health funds this year, and 49,310 state and local public health department jobs have been lost since 2008. For some states, this was the second or even third straight year of funding reductions for public health emergency preparedness programs. And deep federal cuts are looming….