As Climate Shocks Worsen, US Disaster Agency Tries a New Approach to Aid

"Changes include immediate cash for more evacuees, and more money for temporary housing and for repairing damaged homes."

"The Biden administration is overhauling the country’s disaster assistance programs, expanding aid for survivors of hurricanes, wildfires and other catastrophes and making it easier to access.

The shift, announced on Friday by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, comes amid a growing number of climate-related disasters. It follows years of criticism surrounding the agency’s aid programs, which experts have said are insufficient, too hard to access and disproportionately benefit wealthier and white Americans.

“Survivors deserve better,” said Deanne Criswell, the FEMA administrator. “We’re connecting people with the help that they need on their worst day.”

The changes include wider access to an immediate $750 payment after evacuating a home and for other urgent needs, more housing assistance for people who can’t return home right away, easier access to money to repair and improve homes, and reduced paperwork."

Christopher Flavelle reports for the New York Times January 19, 2024.


"Recovering From Natural Disasters Is Slow And Bureaucratic. New FEMA Rules Aim To Cut The Red Tape" (AP)

"Why FEMA Is Changing Rules For Disaster Aid" (E&E News)

Source: NYTimes, 01/22/2024