FEMA Supports Allowing Disaster Aid Requests by Tribal Governments

December 7, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is supporting amending federal law to allow tribal governments to make disaster declaration requests directly to the president.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate announced the administration’s support for this change, which would require Congressional action, at the 2011 Tribal Nations Conference hosted by the White House last week in Washington, D.C.

“Tribal members are an essential part of the emergency management team, and amending the law would enhance FEMA’s working relationship with tribal governments and improve emergency and disaster responsiveness throughout Indian Country,” said Fugate.

Under current law, only states, through the governor, can make disaster declaration requests directly to the president.

The proposed legislative change to the Stafford Act would allow a tribal government to choose whether to directly request a separate declaration or to receive assistance, as they do presently, under a declaration for a state.

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