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Stafford Act: Assistance in Emergency

The Stafford Act gives the power to the president to declare emergencies so that the federal government could provide assistance to the state and local government when they need it.

Stafford Act is the common name given to Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act which is a 1988 United States federal law and is the amended version of Disaster Relief Act (1974) is named after Vermont Senator Robert t. Stafford, who helped to pass the law.†

It is the Act made to relieve the state and local government in case of emergency and major disaster.

What is the Stafford Act?

The Stafford act definition states that it is the law made to provide orderly and systematic assistance to the state and local governments during an emergency and natural disasters so that the states and local government can work to alleviate the damages done.

The Act works to articulate the need for the state and local governments and to create comprehensive preparedness plans for handling disasters and also to prepare for intergovernmental coordination during times of crisis.

The Stafford Act gives the power to the president to declare an emergency and as the president declares an emergency, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) coordinates government-wide relief efforts.

The assistance that the federal government provided under the Stafford Act may include technical, logistical, financial, or any other type of assistance depending on the need of the state or local government where the disaster has taken place.

What are the types of disaster declaration under the Stafford Act?

Emergencies are the events in which federal assistance is needed to save lives, public health, property, and to avert the threat of catastrophe. There are two types of disaster declaration eligible for the Stafford act- emergency declaration and major disaster declarations.†

  • Major Disaster Declaration: This may include natural catastrophes, fire, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, cyclones, tsunami, drought, etc. If the president determines a disaster has caused damage and is beyond the capabilities of the state and local government to respond then the president declares an emergency for the particular states.
  • Emergency Declaration: The president may declare an emergency in response to pandemic influenza, or any communicable diseases.

What do the states need to do for assistance?

Before the declaration of emergency for any disaster certain things need to be done by the state in which the disaster took place:

  • Firstly, the state emergency plan should have been used by the state in response to the disaster,
  • The governor of the state must declare that the state is incapable of handling the disaster and the damage caused by the disaster,
  • The governor of the state must inform the president about the disaster and ask for help,
  • The president then decides whether the state needs the declaration and assistance or not.

What are the kinds of Stafford Act Assistance?

Three kinds of assistance come under the Stafford Act:

1. Individual Assistance: It is the assistance given to the individual and businesses who suffered in the disaster. The assistance may include financial help, housing, and needs related to work or living.

2. Public Assistance: It is the assistance given to the state and the local bodies which may also include funds, medical care, food, water, and shelter. It also gives aid and assistance to some non-profit organizations for emergency work like schools, hospitals, custodial care facilities.

The public assistance is shared with the state and local governments and 75% of the cost is done by the federal government.

3. Hazard Mitigation Assistance: It is the assistance to reduce or mitigate the long-term effect of the disaster and thus reduce the risk to life and property. Hazard Mitigation Assistance applies only to major disasters, not in case of emergencies.

Stafford Act and Covid-19:†

In response to Covid-19, President Trump declared a nationwide emergency and invoked the Stafford Act†on 13th March 2020, and permitted the federal government to provide assistance to state and local government by allowing them to take advantage of approx $50 billion funds through FEMA. The assistance may include:†

  • Emergency medical care
  • management, control, and deduction of threats that may be harmful to public health
  • Medical sheltering
  • Purchase and distribution of food, waterScience Articles, medicines†
  • Informing the public about the health safety
  • Assistance for hospital cares.
  • Supply of proper sanitization accessories.

Source: Free Articles from ArticlesFactory.com

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