COVID is the First “National” Disaster


From Bloomberg: U.S. Disaster Response Isn’t Ready for Actual National Disaster. The country’s disaster preparedness plan did not anticipate a nationwide event, the chief of an aid group says. An excerpt:

We’re all learning what these managers say they’ve known for a long time: Even though the U.S. has a national emergency agency, it is not really designed to handle an emergency that is national in scope. FEMA is designed to handle, at most, a few state-by-state disasters at a time. In fact, the system explicitly counts on having the ability to move resources from one state to another as needed.

“None of us, and by ‘us’ I mean FEMA, the Red Cross, or anyone” anticipated an event overtaking the whole country at once, says Greg Forrester, president and chief executive officer of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (Nvoad), one of the many non-governmental organizations that FEMA relies on for backup. “And none of us has the resources to sustain a response like this.”

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