2018 National Preparedness Report

From the Homeland Security Digital Library: FEMA National Preparedness Report 2018. The report is 62 pages.

 The National Preparedness Report is a requirement of the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act and a key element of the National Preparedness System. This annual report evaluates progress and challenges that individuals and communities, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and all levels of government have faced in preparedness. The report offers all levels of government, the private and nonprofit sectors, and the public practical insights into preparedness to support decisions about program priorities, resource allocation, and community actions.

Another Serious Cutback in Services – for the Disability Community

From PBS: As disasters strike, advocates worry FEMA policy changes put disability community at risk.  An excerpt:

FEMA deploys teams of Disability Integration Advisors to provide assistance to those with disabilities during federally declared natural disasters, such as hurricanes, wildfires and floods. In the past, this included providing disability training to FEMA employees, as well as assessing what technical assistance people needed, like hearing amplifiers or sign-language interpreters. The roles of DIAs continued after the disaster, helping people find appropriate housing and avoid having to go to nursing homes.

But back in May, FEMA said it was reducing the number of DIAs per disaster from 60 to 5. For every major storm in the past, such as the 2016 flooding in Louisiana, FEMA deployed between 60 and 65 DIAs. During Florence last month, FEMA sent five advisors to North Carolina and two to South Carolina.

Critique of FEMA’s Handling of Recovery

From the NY Times, this analysis of disaster recovery in U.S.: As Storms Keep Coming, FEMA Spends Billions in ‘Cycle’ of Damage and Repair. Here is an excerpt:

FEMA’s public assistance program has provided at least $81 billion in this manner to state, territorial and local governments in response to disasters declared since 1992, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data. But an examination of projects across the country’s ever-expanding flood zones reveals that decisions to rebuild in place, often made seemingly in defiance of climate change, have at times left structures just as defenseless against the next storm.

 

In Defense of FEMA

From the Atlantic magazine: It’s (Mostly) Not FEMA’s Fault. The problems blamed on emergency managers are often caused by the shortcomings of other governmental bodies, both before and after disasters.”

This article reinforces the points made in the June 21 posting on this blog, which cited a study documenting the failure of many Gulf Coast states to take the needed steps to mitigate known problems.

Staffing Problems at FEMA

Three articles have appeared lately. From oldest to newest:

(1) Article in Vice News: FEMA Is Facing Hurricane Season With a Vastly Depleted Workforce.

(2) From Reuters: US Disaster Response Stretched Thin As Hurricane Season Starts. An excerpt:

Internal documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show the agency’s disaster-response force is understaffed by 26 percent. And as last year revealed, many of those who sign up don’t always respond when needed. (For graphic, see tmsnrt.rs/2Juw4LV)

(3) Another take on the topic from TheHill: FEMA Scrambles to Hire Response Force as Hurricane Season Looms.