Today, December 28, 2015, twelve Arkansas counties made disaster declarations due to the current flooding disaster. What is a Disaster Declaration, and why is it important? There are two types of declarations that are laid out by the Stafford Act: Emergency Declarations, and Major Disaster Declarations. Both types of declarations must be authorized by the President of the United States. The purpose of these declarations is to provide additional assistance by using federal resources. The scope of the assistance is situation dependent. Perhaps more importantly, why should you care? Simply put, you should care because this could lead to disaster assistance for you. If you are in need of assistance, then you should hope for a Major Disaster Declaration. Below are the definitions of the two declaration types, and the types of assistance that may be available in a Major Disaster Declaration.
- Emergency Declarations:
An Emergency Declaration can be declared for any occasion or instance when the President determines federal assistance is needed. Emergency Declarations supplement State and local efforts in providing emergency services, such as the protection of lives, property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States. The total amount of assistance provided for a single emergency may not exceed $5 million. If this amount is exceeded, the President shall report to Congress.
- Major Declaration:
The President can declare a Major Disaster Declaration for any natural event, including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought, or, regardless of cause, fire, flood, or explosion, that the President believes has caused damage of such severity that it is beyond the combined capabilities of state and local governments to respond. A major disaster declaration provides a wide range of federal assistance programs for individuals and public infrastructure, including funds for both emergency and permanent work.
- Individual Assistance:
Assistance to individuals and households;
- Public Assistance
Assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency work and the repair or replacement of disaster damaged facilities;
- Hazard Mitigation Assistance
Assistance to state and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for actions taken to prevent or reduce long term risk to life and property from natural hazards.
Do you want to find out where the disaster declarations are located? Search your area with the link below!
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