Posts Tagged ‘disaster relief’

How FEMA Works

June 3, 2011

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, has been a federal disaster relief agency since 1979.  FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that, as a nation, we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, and recover from and mitigate all hazards.  Even though FEMA is there after disaster strikes, it is not necessarily the most efficient disaster relief agency.

When disaster strikes, you can expect FEMA to be there, providing disaster relief for the victims. How does the process work? When disasters strike and people are in need of FEMA’s assistance, those affected by the disaster must fill out an application.  With all the recent disasters, there are many applications being submitted.  The agency can be very quick and send out disaster relief in hours, but in some cases, it can take days.  Sometimes, the applications received are filled out incorrectly or could be missing a signature, which would cause a delay in the process.  FEMA can proceed only if the president declares a major disaster.  Once that takes place, the process usually works like this:

  1. Local or state officials declare a state of emergency.  Local emergency crews and first responders work to deal with the disaster as best they can.
  2. State agencies respond.  This can include National Guard troops.
  3. Officials assess the damage.
  4. The governor of the state involved makes an official request for a disaster declaration, based on the damage assessment.
  5. FEMA makes a recommendation to the president, who either approves or denies the request.
  6. Once a presidential disaster declaration is made, FEMA can start providing assistance.

FEMA cannot assist with every disaster that happens, but when they do, they help out as best as humanly possible.  The agency was originally formed to stop the complications that usually result from multiple disaster agencies converging on the site of the disasters, yet it still has its flaws.  The process of getting help from this agency may be complex, but is a welcomed relief when disaster strikes.

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Taylor P.

Aftermath in Japan: One Month Later

April 15, 2011

It has been a month since the earthquake and tsunami struck Japan, and many of you may be wondering how Japan is coping.  Here are some sobering statistics: the Japanese National Police Agency confirmed that there have been 13,127 deaths, 4,793 injured and 14,348 people missing.  There are over 125,000 buildings that have been damaged or destroyed.  These natural disasters have also caused heavy road and railway damage as well as a dam collapse in Fukushima.  There are around 4.4 million households in northeastern Japan that have been left without electricity and 1.5 million households that have been left without water.  Not only do the Japanese people have to deal with their losses, but they also have to stay alert and be attentive to their safety and health.

One month after the earthquake and tsunami that struck Northern Japan, the Japanese people are still struggling to put their lives back together.The tsunami resulted in more than 300,000 refugees.  There are shortages in food, water, and shelter.  The people of Japan really need our help.  Although some of us are not in the position to help, every little bit helps.  Imagine yourself in their position.  One day, you wake up to a natural disaster and realize that you’ve lost your family, home, and business.  I hope that the people of Japan are able to get back on their feet and heal from all the pain that this disaster has brought them.  If you are interested in helping, there are many foundations dedicated to helping the victims of this disaster such as the Jennifer Smart Foundation.

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Joie Montoya

Japan Relief Effort: How You Can Help the Earthquake & Tsunami Victims

March 14, 2011

Around the world on Friday, March 11, 2011, we watched in horror as a magnitude 8.9 earthquake, with an epicenter 231 miles (373 kilometers) northeast of Tokyo and 80 miles (130 km) east of Sendai, Honshu in the Pacific Ocean, generated a tsunami that devastated the mostly rural region of Northern Japan.  The immediate destruction of the earthquake and tsunami included destroyed or toppled houses and buildings, overturned train cars, and mud and debris pushed miles inland.  The livelihoods of millions of people were wiped out, the human toll incalculable.

The disaster has made even the most basic of necessities – food, clothing, and shelter – hard to come by.  The international community and nonprofit organizations have stepped in, mobilizing rescue workers and providing relief to the victims of the disaster.  You, too, can help the victims of the disaster by providing relief supplies or donating money.  The fastest way to help is to make a $10 donation by sending a text message from your mobile phone to an organization’s short code.  Ten organizations have established a text message short code so far.

You can help the victims of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan by donating money with a simple text message.Simply text the specific word to the organization’s designated short code:

Adventist Development and Relief AgencyADRA Relief

  • Text SUPPORT to 85944

American Red CrossJapanese Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Relief

  • Text REDCROSS to 90999

Convoy of HopeDisaster Response

  • Text TSUNAMI or SUNAMI to 50555

GlobalGivingJapan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund

  • Text JAPAN to 50555

International Medical CorpsEmergency Response Fund

  • Text MED to 80888

Mercy CorpsHelp Survivors of Japan’s Earthquake

  • Text MERCY to 25383

Salvation ArmyJapan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Efforts

  • Text JAPAN to 80888

Save the Children FederationJapan Earthquake Tsunami Relief

  • Text JAPAN or TSUNAMI to 20222

World ReliefJapanese Tsunami Relief

  • Text WAVE to 50555

World VisionJapan Quake and Tsunami Relief

  • Text 4JAPAN or 4TSUNAMI to 20222

The $10 donation will show up on your next phone bill.  Every little bit helps.

Canadian vlogger, BusanKevin, lives in Kobe, Japan.  He has appealed to Canadians and Americans to help in any way they can.

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Francis M. Unson

8.9 Magnitude Earthquake & Tsunami Strike Japan

March 12, 2011

On Friday, March 11, 2011, an earthquake struck off the shore of Northern Japan with a magnitude 8.9.  This earthquake created a 23-foot tsunami, devastating the mostly rural area.  More than 50 aftershocks have occurred since the main quake, some being over magnitude 6.0.  Friday’s earthquake ranked as the fifth largest earthquake since 1900.  Hundreds upon thousands of people were left dead, injured, or missing.  People in Tokyo and the surrounding metropolis were left stranded because the rail network went offline immediately after the quake.  33 shelters have been set up in city hall, university campuses, and in government offices so far.  Evacuations were ordered for those closest to nuclear power plants, requiring people to move at least 2-3 miles away from the plant.  Although the plant was not leaking any radiation, it was still hot even after shutdown.

On March 11, 2011, a powerful 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck the coast of Northern Japan, triggering a 23-foot tsunami, devastating farmland and leveling infrastructure in its path.

Natori City, Japan. Photograph: Kyodo/Reuters

The entire Pacific Rim area was put on alert, but the waves were not as strong as expected in the state of Hawaii.  At around 9 AM EST, a 7-foot high tsunami hit the island of Maui, while neighboring islands Oahu and Kauai recorded waves at least 3 feet high.  Jordan Scott, spokesperson for the California Emergency Management Agency, said that it could take 10 to 12 hours for the effects of the earthquake to completely fade away.  Evacuations were made all along the California coast, including 6,000 people near the town of Santa Cruz.  Coastal residents continue to stay on watch for any possible emergencies.  People are encouraged to make any donations they can to an international relief fund supporting the victims of this disaster such as American Red Cross’s “Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami” disaster relief page on

The tsunami wave, as seen from the sea before making its way inland:

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Taylor P.