To improve the quality, speed, and accountability of federal disaster support to state and local partners, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued “Recovery Strategies” addressing two key areas of disaster operations.
The “Mass Sheltering and Housing Assistance” and “Debris Removal Operations” strategies reflect important lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, and outline a clear and manageable framework for guiding federal and state operational responses during the 2006 hurricane season, and beyond.
“These two strategies will go a long way toward improving the quality, equity, consistency, and efficiency of future disaster recovery efforts,” said Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. “We will deliver necessary assistance in a more organized and disciplined way, and in a more financially accountable manner.”
These strategies are not designed to be comprehensive policy documents, but rather provide a general operational overview of how the agency plans to coordinate evacuee and debris removal support responsibilities should the nation face another challenging hurricane. However, each strategy will drive the development of far more detailed “policy” documents that will provide necessary program-level specifics. FEMA will coordinate all such supporting policies with state emergency management partners.
“FEMA is absolutely committed to improving federal disaster support to our state and local partners, and we look forward to working together to reach that shared goal,” said David Paulison, director of FEMA. “Having these strategies in place to guide us and our state partners will help us plan better, do our jobs better, and ultimately, better serve the disaster victims.”
Among the provisions of the strategy for “Mass Sheltering and Housing Assistance,” is a new, proactive protocol to dispatch field registration personnel and newly designed Mobile Registration Intake Centers to designated congregate shelters, to proactively seek out and register evacuees for FEMA assistance. In addition, a new process for implementing transitional sheltering, if needed, will streamline the delivery of such assistance, while greatly reducing opportunities for waste, fraud and abuse.
The strategy for “Mass Sheltering and Housing Assistance” also addresses temporary housing in states outside the disaster area, evacuee return transportation options, and changes to how certain forms of financial assistance may be implemented and expedited.
The “Debris Removal Operations” strategy summarizes key actions the federal government will take, if appropriate, in responding to a major debris mission. The strategy also defines eligible private and public debris as it pertains to reimbursable removal; describes the circumstances under which the federal government will initially manage debris removal operations; reflects recent changes to equalize cost-share application, and establishes, in general terms, the roles, responsibilities and expectations of federal, state and local governments.
A key component of the planning and preparedness focus of the strategy is the new Debris Removal Contractor Registry. This new nationwide registry allows debris removal companies the opportunity to list their capabilities and availability, providing state and local emergency managers a valuable new reference tool to help them establish debris removal contracts and agreements in advance of a disaster.
Fact sheets with additional information on the strategies, as well as copies of the strategies, can be obtained and reviewed at www.fema.gov.
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