Sunday, August 08, 2010

More disasters or just more declarations?

There were more presidential disasters declared in the last decade "than in any other decade in more than 50 years, with an average of 56 per year. This is double the average from 1980 to 1989, when there were almost 24 a year, and 10 more than the 1990s with 46 per year," as reported in the National Emergency Managers Association (NEMA) 2010 Biennial Report.

NEMA said 59 major disasters were declared in the U.S last year compared for example to 34 in 1984. [right, Sabino Canyon, Tucson, following 2006 flooding. My photo]

A story about this in the Council of State Governments magazine Capitol Ideas asked the obvious question, are there really more disasters that require a major declaration or are there more political and societal pressures that are pushing the increase?

The answer is not easily resolved. There probably is a greater expectation by the public for federal assistance, but does that account for all the declarations or is there really an increase of natural disasters to some lesser extent?

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