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Disaster Readiness

- January 12, 2018
Is FEMA prepared for weather catastrophes?
Featured Report

Record-setting weather events devastated large parts of the United States in 2017 and early this year, including deadly wildfires that destroyed thousands of homes in California, ensuing mudslides and hurricanes that flooded the Southeast and obliterated communities in Puerto Rico. The disasters have severely strained the Federal Emergency Management Agency, prompting questions about whether the government is equipped to deal with natural disasters that scientists say are becoming more frequent and severe because of climate change. Some experts argue FEMA needs more money and authority, while others say the main job of disaster relief should be handed over to the states and local governments. The Trump administration has proposed cutting money for programs that supporters describe as crucial to disaster-related preparation and recovery. Meanwhile, mounting debt at the National Flood Insurance Program has renewed calls to stop insuring homeowners who repeatedly rebuild in flood-prone areas. And local governments are facing new pressure to curb development that adds to flood and fire risks.

Changes Under Trump

The president wants to cut disaster-related programs.

FEMA's “Deductibles” Plan

States would have to spend specific amounts on disaster readiness.

Fixing Flood Insurance

Current premiums do not reflect flooding risks.

1800s-1936Government's role in disaster response is sporadic, informal.
1950-1974Legislation formalizes government role in disaster relief.
1979-2002Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) created as nation's main disaster-response agency.
2005-PresentDisaster-relief failures in after math of Hurricane Katrina spur reforms.

Should the National Flood Insurance Program be discontinued?


Diane Katz
Senior Research Fellow in Regulatory Policy, Institute for Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation.


Roy E. Wright
Deputy Associate Administrator, Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Federal Emergency Management Agency.


Privatizing Government Services
Do business-run public services save taxpayers money?
Species Extinction
Is a mass die-off underway?
Citizen Protests
Do mass demonstrations lead to policy changes?