Federal Emergency Management Agency

Richard Serino, Deputy Administrator

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA; German Federal Agency for Civil Protection ) is the national coordinating body of the United States for disaster relief and is the Department of Homeland Security of the United States assumed.

FEMA coordinates the work of federal, state and local authorities in floods, hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. FEMA also provides financial support to individuals and local and state governments in the reconstruction of homes, businesses and public institutions. Likewise, the training of firefighters and emergency medical professionals is supported. It finances the event of a disaster - planning in the United States and its overseas territories.


The Authority was established on 1 April 1979 by President Jimmy Carter ( Executive Order 12127 ).

In the 19th century, the U.S. Congress over 100 individual laws put in place to ensure local help for various natural disasters. In the first half of the 20th century, the disaster relief has been extended by various federal agencies such as the Bureau of Public Roads and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. It was only during the 1960s and 1970s has been called upon to coordinate disaster relief in a single federal agency centrally. This was triggered by the hurricanes Carla, Betsy, Camille and Agnes and the Good Friday earthquake and the San Fernando Earthquake of 1971.

2003, FEMA became part of George W. Bush to the newly created Department of Homeland Security. Since the FEMA during disasters but is in the center of public attention, the authority was able to keep their own logo, despite the inclusion.

Hurricane Katrina in 2005

Until 12 September 2005, the Attorney Michael Brown, who was active before his appointment by George W. Bush at the Horse Breeders' Association International Arabian Horse Association, the director of FEMA was. Brown and his two deputies who worked for Bush as a campaign manager during the presidential election of 2000. According to the Washington Post five of the eight top FEMA officials, including Browns were both deputy to her place, even though they have little or no experience in disaster management brought. Brown was forced to resign after relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Katrina had been requested late, anliefen hesitant and were perceived as poorly coordinated. FEMA seemed under his leadership unable to respond adequately to major terrorist attacks or natural disasters.

Criticism of FEMA

On 23 October 2007, FEMA held a press conference in Washington, DC to forest fires in California from. As it turned out later, only FEMA employees were present, according to the presented harmless questions. Reporters were not informed until 15 minutes before the start. Some of them were connected to a telephone, but could not ask questions. Johnsen admitted later in the Washington Post a ". Our goal was to disseminate the information as quickly as possible, while we have made a mistake " The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which the authority is subject, was critical: " This is inexcusable, such actions will not be tolerated and must not be repeated. "

The libertarian author James Bovard criticized 1997, FEMA because they subsidize the reconstruction of disaster-prone areas, with the question: "Do we really want to help rebuild homes and federal buildings in areas where they had from the outset never to be built " He also claimed that communities are much more likely neglect their own snow removal because the federal agency will help them out when they are cut off eg for promised schneiter streets.

The manual of the libertarian Cato Institute, which is delivered to parliament, says that the work of FEMA should be taken over by private companies, which would favor the construction of buildings in safe zones, " Every time there is a natural disaster, FEMA is cited as an example of how well government organizations work. But in reality, because the taxpayer disaster relief and subsidized insurance premiums subsidized, FEMA encourages a civil to build in disaster-prone areas - and other citizens have to bear the consequences of these risky decisions. In a well- functioning free market would be people who build their houses in flood areas or hurricane zones, shell out the risk through higher insurance premiums themselves. FEMA activities undermine that process though. Americans should not be forced to pay the costs if holiday homes are destroyed on the south coast. This authority, which costs four billion dollars a year heard abolished. "

FEMA, however, stated that they strengthen the self-reliance by promoting to people by structural measures to minimize future damage or take out insurance against floods.

A similar criticism voiced in September 2005, the spokesman for the Republican Congressman Dennis Hastert, in connection with Hurricane Katrina with the intention to question the reconstruction of the city of New Orleans: " It makes no sense to spend billions of dollars to rebuild a city that is lower than sea level. "

Also, the reconstruction of San Francisco after the earthquake was " stubborn " was. Louisiana, where New Orleans is located, is majority Republican.


Organized FEMA 's ten regional and two field offices. Each office is responsible for several states or dependent areas. The regional staff work directly with the official institutions of the States to draw up plans for disasters and their prevention. In the case of already occurring disasters, FEMA is working locally with the relevant emergency organizations of each country together.

Larger drawdowns in the history of FEMA

  • Terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, mainly in New York City
  • Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia
  • Wildfires in Southern California in 2007