Disaster Management

March 24, 2011
67 Views

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados are some of the most devastating events any city can endure. These disasters compromise the health of many residents due to lack of food and clean water, injuries and contagious diseases.  For most of the history of the U.S., federal assistance to communities hit by diasters took the form of one-time appropriations from Congress.

Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados are some of the most devastating events any city can endure. These disasters compromise the health of many residents due to lack of food and clean water, injuries and contagious diseases.  For most of the history of the U.S., federal assistance to communities hit by diasters took the form of one-time appropriations from Congress.

As the Wilson Quarterly notes, however, after the great depression, federal agencies were formed to help out these unfortunate communities.  Federal efforts include the creation of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932.  ”The Federal Civil Defense Administration was created to help the country in the case of nuclear war, but, in part thanks to pressure from state and local governments, they soon became key instruments in responding to natural disasters.”  In 1979, Congress created the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  This act consolidated various disaster-response programs throughout the government.

Patrick Roberts argues in a 2010 National Affairs article that it may be time for the White House to back off from disaster management.  At the state an local levels, politicians hope that disasters look horrible on television to generate more FEMA money.  Roberts argues that the government should steer development away from disaster prone areas and should delegate disaster relief to the state and local level.

This is not as easy as it sounds however.  FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) likely underprices premiums for flood insurance and thus encourages development on flood plains.  Many libertarians would ask the private market to perform such as task.  Private insurance companies, however, do not like this type of insurance since the risk is correlated. In the automobile insurance market, being involved in a car accident has a small effect on the probability my neighbor has a car accident. In the disaster insurance market, however, the probability I experience a disaster is very high if my neighbor has experienced a disaster.  Thus, insurance companies who provider coverage within a narrow geographic area are at risk for insolvency if a serious natural disaster strikes.  Nevertheless, I generally support delegating more emergency management operations to the state and local level.

You may be interested

Care On The Road: How Telemedicine Can Reach Truck Drivers
Mobile Health
13 views
Mobile Health
13 views

Care On The Road: How Telemedicine Can Reach Truck Drivers

Larry Alton - August 21, 2017

Telemedicine is considered a powerful tool for individuals living in rural areas, far from adequate services or in need of…

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech
eHealth
3 views
eHealth
3 views

Where Is The Balance? Pushing Back Against Consumer Health Tech

Larry Alton - August 18, 2017

When Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz glibly remarked that Americans struggling to afford insurance should choose between that and their smartphones,…

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software
eHealth
365 views
eHealth
365 views

What to Look for in Patient Solutions Software

Robert Cordray - August 17, 2017

The medical sector is one area where technology has had a significant impact, largely by providing tools that simplify many…