“The Federal Emergency Management Agency would see funding increases with a focus on confronting the effects of climate change and building community resilience under President Biden’s budget proposal.
The $52.2 billion net discretionary budget request for DHS in fiscal year 2022, which Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said would “provide DHS with the resources we need to keep our country safe, strong, and prosperous,” places FEMA at the top of the heap, accounting for a 31 percent share of DHS’ $90.8 billion total budget authority followed by Customs and Border Protection at 18 percent.
It comes after President Biden has declared disaster readiness to be an urgent priority, declaring while visiting the FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington on May 24 that he was “going to make sure the men and women of FEMA and our other key agencies have everything they need — everything they need, because they’ve got an incredibly difficult job.”
America’s roads, bridges and other public resources and services appear to be suffering from a chronic resilience deficit, and recent cyberattacks appear to reflect gaps in resilience. All these underscore the fact that much of the nation’s infrastructure was built under the assumptions of the past and apparently false expectations about the risks of the future. Rapid changes in infrastructure as well as the threats to which it is exposed are creating new challenges for resilience.
Lessons Learned from Hurricane Laura Non-Congregate Sheltering, a guest posting by Leila Darwish
“With summer fast approaching and bringing with it yet another active hurricane season in the South and fire season in the West, some communities may find themselves facing evacuation and needing to seek shelter all while the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and continues to present an ongoing challenge. In 2020, emergency managers and public health staff had to adapt their emergency plans in order to find ways to safely shelter residents while limiting the risk of COVID-19 transmission. With the risk for congregate shelters to act as potential super-spreader events, and the near impossibility of meeting increased distancing requirements within the limitations of congregate sites, non-congregate sheltering was utilized by some state governments to shelter large numbers of evacuees post-disaster.” Read the full article here.
Leila Darwish worked for the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness as the Community Engagement & VOAD Coordinator from 2019 until February 2021. She currently works as an independent consultant who specializes in emergency management, equitable recovery, and disaster resilience. She can be reached via Linked In.
Inaugural Editor’s Notes from the Co-Editors of Pracademic Affairs: Welcome to the inaugural issue of Pracademic Affairs! We are thrilled to bring this forum to practitioners and practitioner-scholars to have a place, as our mission states, to provide emergency management and homeland security practitioners a welcoming platform to write, explore, analyze, and examine real-world critical lessons learned to improve the resilience of our communities. This collaboration was born out of a challenging year for those in the field. We remain grateful to the Editors of the Homeland Security Affairs Journal and the staff of the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Homeland Defense and Security for their support and assistance with making this idea a reality.
“Long, now executive vice president at Hagerty Consulting, said it was too early to judge Biden’s handling of natural disasters. But he warned that these events are only escalating: The toll during his time as FEMA administrator equaled nearly $456.7 billion in damage and associated costs, which was more than under the past nine administrators combined.”