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Author: Jessica Stapf
When disasters impact communities across the country, the people affected by them can lose anything and often lose everything. It's a trying time for many of them; who may not even have a home to go back to or a place to call their own.There can be multiple solutions to this problem. Some survivors can go stay with friends or family members. Some survivors are eligible to receive rental assistance. Some survivors are placed into manufactured housing units—when there’s no other place for them to go.I can hear the questions now."But, wait. Aren't you talking about those...
Posted On: February 16, 2016
Author: Geralyn M. Ryan
Saturday, September 12, 2015, started out as a normal day for Jose Simon III, Chairman of the Middletown Rancheria of Pomo Indians of California Tribal Council, and then it got a little interesting for Jose: I had a General Council meeting in the afternoon and was thinking about going to a football game later on. My plans changed after the council meeting, when I walked outside and saw a wildfire burning in the distance. I spent the next few hours helping tribal members, checking on friends in the community and talking with officials from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the...
Posted On: February 2, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
Picture this—a scene that could happen anywhere in the United States…The rain was coming down in sheets for what felt like the umpteenth straight day. People lost track of how long ago it started--it felt like it would never end.  The storm clouds that shrouded the town in a blanket of steely gray sadness looked like they hadn’t moved an inch.It rained. And rained. And rained some more.Tin roofs and windowpanes echoed with the sound of the raindrops. Flooded streets closed--and the landscape was dotted with fluorescent orange detour signs. The water had nowhere to go...
Posted On: January 28, 2016
Author: Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D, RN
Editor's Note: Cross-posted from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blog.Flint, Michigan is in the midst of a serious public health crisis, with high levels of lead in its water supply. President Obama signed an emergency declaration on Saturday, ordering federal assistance to support state and local response efforts.With the emergency declaration in place, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has now been designated the lead federal agency responsible for coordinating federal government response and recovery efforts.This means that HHS will, in...
Posted On: January 19, 2016
Author: Alessandro Amaglio
Sometimes, when we think about historic preservation, we think of places like New Orleans with its grand houses and graceful gardens, or maybe we picture the rolling hills of Gettysburg. But, long before Europeans arrived in Louisiana or the decisive battle of the Civil War, the Lake Miwok Indians were raising their families, practicing their religion and burying their dead in villages throughout Northern California.In September 2015, as a pair of explosive wildfires raged across Calaveras and Lake counties, Suntayea Steinruck was organizing the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer /State...
Posted On: January 19, 2016
Author: Yvette Blackman
Folks along Peeples Street in northern Richland County, South Carolina are accustomed to relentless rain. Crane Creek overflows its banks at times, spilling into low-lying rural areas and causing flooding that creeps up to windowsills. Yards fill with a soupy mess of mud and muck. But the people who live on this street on the edge of the Denny Terrace neighborhood are a hardy lot. Chores move indoors until the rains stop. Folks clean up. Life goes on. When it began raining in early fall, Denny Terrace residents weren’t alarmed. But South Carolina was pounded by weeks of punishing rain...
Posted On: January 11, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
We published 62 posts on our blog this year. We wrote about all sorts of topics ranging from partnerships with other organizations, stories from our field offices, the phenomenon known as El Niño, and several others. Through the magic of analytics, we found our ten most-read articles from 2015.1. The “Big One” in the Pacific Northwest: Taking conversation to actionKen Murphy, FEMA’s Region 10 Administrator, took some time to sit down and pen an article in response to The New Yorker’s most popular article of the year. There’s been a lot of concern and attention...
Posted On: January 7, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
When disasters like extreme flooding, wildfires, and building collapses happen, search and rescue teams are in the air, in the water, and on the ground within hours to respond. They are there working to find and rescue anyone trapped—be it by the elements or by debris.  Our 28 nationally trained and certified Urban Search and Rescue teams are made up of specialists in communications, hazardous materials, logistics, medical, planning, rescue, technical, and water operations.Each task force has up to 210 members on staff at any given time—this ensures that when they’re...
Posted On: January 4, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
The way I see it, the world is kind of like driving in Mario Kart. Some disasters we can see coming with the help of weather forecasts—like hurricanes. They are like Mario Kart bananas—they’re bad, but we have time to prepare for them. Other disasters, like earthquakes, we can’t predict. They are more like blue shells, which are designed to take out whoever is leading the race when they’re least expecting it.This year's hurricane season smashed records in both oceans; the Atlantic for being below-average, the Pacific for being above-average.1In the Pacific...
Posted On: December 18, 2015
Author: Esther Herrera
This year, several wildfires raged through northern California burning everything in their paths: houses, cars, farm equipment, even telephone poles. One day, my team visited a family who survived the wildfire. The fire moved so quickly that this family, like many others, was forced to flee the flames with only the clothes on their backs.They were fortunately able to evacuate safely. But once the fire was contained and they were allowed to return, the family discovered that they had lost everything. Their house had burned to the ground. Clothing, furniture, appliances: all gone.When our team...
Posted On: December 7, 2015