In 1979, President Jimmy Carter responded to local and state demands’ and created the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Roberts 18).
According to the Department of Homeland Land Security website the FEMA mission is, “DISASTER. It strikes anytime anywhere. It takes many forms – a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado, a flood or a hazardous spill, an act of nature or an act of terrorism. It builds over days or weeks or hits suddenly, without warning. Every year millions of Americans face disaster, and its terrifying consequences. This is the mission statement of our Federal Emergency Management Agency. Its sounds very reassuring that that if you ever become victimized by natural disaster that you will be taken care and your needs will be fulfilled no matter what the problems is. I wish this was true in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In 1980, Ronald Reagan gave FEMA a new civil defense mandate intensified by the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The responsibility of the agency was stretched from just flood, fire, etc. response, to leading evacuation warning against nuclear attack. (Roberts 18).
Already handling the great pressure of responding to the needs of Americans who were consumed by disaster, the thought of making FEMA in charge of nuclear attack warning was overwhelming. In 1992, the very destructive and Hurricane Andrew caused about 30 billion dollars in south Florida and left 160,000 people homeless. (Roberts 19).
The city of New Orleans is one of the most culturally diverse urban centers in North America. It was founded in southeastern Louisiana on the banks of the Mississippi River some 180 km away from the Gulf of Mexico. It was built in 1718 on the east bank of the river and south of Lake Pontchartrain. The city was named for Philippe II, Duc d’Orleans, the regent of France during the era of Louis XV. ...
FEMA was adequate enough to help but most of the resources were locked up in national security uses. This sound similar to another catastrophic hurricane I know of: Hurricane Katrina which caused the demise of the entire infrastructure of a major city and the physical death of more than thirteen-hundred people.
It also ranks as the most destructive storm in United States history destroying some two- hundred thousand homes in New Orleans alone and cost as much as two-hundred billion dollars (Prah Overview par. 4-5).
The terrible relief effort here was too the cause of most funding being funneled to national security through homeland security. These two situations are almost twin like in comparison. First, in the brew of Hurricane Andrew the Cold War had switched the FEMA’s attention from disaster and aid to evacuation warning for nuclear attack.
In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit, the terrorist attacks of September 11 four years prior had switched FEMA’s attention to the prevention of another attack. Both of these storms caused immense damage and main cause for slow aid and assistance was that funding was indulged in other ventures along with poor planning and preparedness for the storms. Secondly, after Hurricane Andrew congress questioned whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency was “capable to of responding to catastrophic disasters” along with the replacement of the FEMA director. Roberts 20).
The same thing happened post Hurricane Katrina, with various congressional hearings due to the lack of aid and the firing of FEMA director Michael Brown. Also, last but not least, the presidents that these disasters occurred under. These two deadly disasters happened under the provision of father George H. W. Bush and son George W. Bush. Hurricane Andrew caused George H. W Bush re-election; I wish 2005 would have been a voting year! (Roberts 20)
When FEMA past and present have been confronted about why they have been inefficient in emergency situations the answer has close to the same deficiencies: low funding, lack of preparedness, and poor planning and response. After Hurricane Hugo in 1989, U. S Senator Ernest “Fritz” Hollings called FEMA “the sorriest bunch of bureaucratic jackasses I’ve ever known. ” (Roberts 9) This is an understatement of what some of the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Andrew would like to state. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is in disarray. There are many questions to be raised and many directions to head in.
Natural disasters are a part of life and emergency situation occur more frequently than most people believe. After a disaster, how well a community can recover will greatly depend on how well they have been prepared in advance. Preemptive organization of resources and the responsiveness to emergencies can mean the difference between a community’s ability to regroup and recover, and the loss of ...
Should military have more involvement? Should emergency response be left up to the states? Or should there be a Federal Emergency Management Agency in the first place? All of these are questioned that are important and could improve this agency greatly. However, the most important change that needs to happen to get the Federal Emergency Management Agency back to maximum effectiveness is for it to become its own department cutting all ties with the Department of Homeland Security. Being an umbrella organization can be very difficult at times especially when it comes to funding.
I am the president of Freshman Action Team which is an umbrella organization of the African American Student Association. When funding was needed and requested from the Student Government Association it was an arduous and timely process. Having to come with a proposal for the executives; waiting on them to take it to the SGA board, waiting on them to reply to the executives of the African American Student Association, then waiting for them to relay the message to the my organization. Also, currency already in accounts and programs that wanted to be done had to be approved by the organization before actually occurring.
This is similar to what the Federal Emergency Management Agency director encountered while trying to conduct responses in critical situations. The reorganization of FEMA required brown to send budget and policy request to DHS secretary, who would then pitch FEMA’s issues to the president (Prah “Does politics reduce FEMA’s effectiveness? ” par. 17).
This hierarchal process was very ineffective for me as the Freshman Action Team president and would definitely be ineffective and very dangerous in an emergency situation when quick executive decisions have to be made.
In the 1920s the American economy was headed towards an economic depression. The tariffs passed by the government and actions of proprietors had led to the downfall of the American economy. On October 29. 1929, the stock market crashed, officially signaling the beginning of the depression. During the period of the Great Depression, Herbert C. Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt were presidents. Both ...