Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Katrina redux

Let's go over this one more time.

With all the screeching about the "incompetent" federal response to the hurricane, much as been lost and or distorted about just did or did not happen or when that thing may or may not have happened.

First up, the controlling legal authority:


All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the Governor of the affected State. Such a request shall be based on a finding that the disaster is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and the affected local governments and that Federal assistance is necessary. As part of such request, and as a prerequisite to major disaster assistance under this Act, the Governor shall take appropriate response action under State law and direct execution of the State's emergency plan. The Governor shall furnish information on the nature and amount of State and local resources which have been or will be committed to alleviating the results of the disaster, and shall certify that, for the current disaster, State and local government obligations and expenditures (of which State commitments must be a significant proportion) will comply with all applicable cost-sharing requirements of this Act. Based on the request of a Governor under this section, the President may declare under this Act that a major disaster or emergency exists.

(Pub. L. 93-288, title IV, § 401, as added Pub. L. 100-707, title I, § 106(a)(3), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4696.)

Now, given the above, just when did the Louisiana Governor make that declaration?

Moving right along......


In any major disaster, the President may--

  1. direct any Federal agency, with or without reimbursement, to utilize its authorities and the resources granted to it under Federal law (including personnel, equipment, supplies, facilities, and managerial, technical, and advisory services) in support of State and local assistance efforts;

  2. coordinate all disaster relief assistance (including voluntary assistance) provided by Federal agencies, private organizations, and State and local governments;

  3. provide technical and advisory assistance to affected State and local governments for--
    1. the performance of essential community services;
    2. issuance of warnings of risks and hazards;
    3. public health and safety information, including dissemination of such information;
    4. provision of health and safety measures; and
    5. management, control, and reduction of immediate threats to public health and safety; and

  4. assist State and local governments in the distribution of medicine, food, and other consumable supplies, and emergency assistance.

(Pub. L. 93-288, title IV, § 402, as added Pub. L. 100-707, title I, § 106(a)(3), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4696.)

Then we get into the meat:

§ 5170b. ESSENTIAL ASSISTANCE {Sec. 403}
  1. In general

    Federal agencies may on the direction of the President, provide assistance essential to meeting immediate threats to life and property resulting from a major disaster, as follows:

    1. Federal resources, generally

      Utilizing, lending, or donating to State and local governments Federal equipment, supplies, facilities, personnel, and other resources, other than the extension of credit, for use or distribution by such governments in accordance with the purposes of this Act.

    2. Medicine, food, and other consumables

      Distributing or rendering through State and local governments, the American National Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Mennonite Disaster Service, and other relief and disaster assistance organizations medicine, food, and other consumable supplies, and other services and assistance to disaster victims.

    3. Work and services to save lives and protect property

      Performing on public or private lands or waters any work or services essential to saving lives and protecting and preserving property or public health and safety, including--

      1. debris removal;
      2. search and rescue, emergency medical care, emergency mass care, emergency shelter, and provision of food, water, medicine, and other essential needs, including movement of supplies or persons;
      3. clearance of roads and construction of temporary bridges necessary to the performance of emergency tasks and essential community services;
      4. provision of temporary facilities for schools and other essential community services;
      5. demolition of unsafe structures which endanger the public;
      6. warning of further risks and hazards;
      7. dissemination of public information and assistance regarding health and safety measures;
      8. provision of technical advice to State and local governments on disaster management and control; and
      9. reduction of immediate threats to life, property, and public health and safety.

    4. Contributions

      Making contributions to State or local governments or owners or operators of private nonprofit facilities for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this subsection.

  2. Federal share

    The Federal share of assistance under this section shall be not less than 75 percent of the eligible cost of such assistance.

  3. Utilization of DOD resources

    1. General rule

      During the immediate aftermath of an incident which may ultimately qualify for assistance under this title or title V of this Act [42 U.S.C. §§ 5170 et seq. or 5191 et seq.], the Governor of the State in which such incident occurred may request the President to direct the Secretary of Defense to utilize the resources of the Department of Defense for the purpose of performing on public and private lands any emergency work which is made necessary by such incident and which is essential for the preservation of life and property. If the President determines that such work is essential for the preservation of life and property, the President shall grant such request to the extent the President determines practicable. Such emergency work may only be carried out for a period not to exceed 10 days.

    2. Rules applicable to debris removal

      Any removal of debris and wreckage carried out under this subsection shall be subject to section 5173(b) of this title [42 U.S.C. § 5173­(b)], relating to unconditional authorization and indemni­fi­ca­tion for debris removal.

    3. Expenditures out of disaster relief funds

      The cost of any assistance provided pursuant to this subsection shall be reimbursed out of funds made available to carry out this Act.

    4. Federal share

      The Federal share of assistance under this subsection shall be not less than 75 percent.

    5. Guidelines

      Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of the Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Amendments of 1988 [enacted Nov. 23, 1988], the President shall issue guidelines for carrying out this subsection. Such guidelines shall consider any likely effect assistance under this subsection will have on the availability of other forms of assistance under this Act.

    6. Definitions

      For purposes of this section--

      1. Department of Defense
        The term 'Department of Defense' has the meaning the term "department" has under section 101 of title 10, United States Code.

      2. Emergency work
        The term "emergency work" includes clearance and removal of debris and wreckage and temporary restoration of essential public facilities and services.

(Pub. L. 93-288, title IV, § 403, as added Pub. L. 100-707, title I, § 106(a)(3), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4697.)

this is from the following site:

The need to prepare is real.

  • Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property.
  • If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well. Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.
  • You should know how to respond to severe weather or any disaster that could occur in your area - hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme cold, flooding, or terrorism.
  • You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation.
more to follow

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