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April 30, 2006

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security, initially created by Presidential Order on 1 April 1979.

The primary purpose of FEMA is to coordinate the response to a disaster that has occurred in the United States and that overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities. The governor of the state in which the disaster occurs must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the president that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster. FEMA also provides these services for territories of the United States, such as Puerto Rico. The only exception is when an emergency or disaster occurs on federal property or to a federal asset, for example, the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, or the Space Shuttle Columbia in the 2003 return-flight disaster.

While on-the-ground support of disaster recovery efforts is a major part of FEMA's charter, the agency provides state and local governments with experts in specialized fields and funding for rebuilding efforts and relief funds for infrastructure, in conjunction with the Small Business Administration. FEMA also assists individuals and businesses with low interest loans. In addition to this, FEMA provides funds for training of response personnel throughout the United States and its territories as part of the agency's preparedness effort.

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Any new federal involvement is particularly insane. It will further encourage homeownership in areas prone to disasters, and it will create major financial liabilities for the federal government.

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