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Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act: Legal Requirements for Federal and State Roles in Declarations of an Emergency or a Major Disaster

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The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, P.L. 93288, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Sections 5121-5206, and implementing regulations in 44 C.F.R. Sections 206.31-206.48, provide the statutory framework for a Presidential declaration of an emergency or a declaration of a major disaster. Such declarations open the way for a wide range of federal resources to be made available to assist in dealing with the emergency or major disaster involved. The Stafford Act structure for the declaration process reflects the fact that federal resources under this act supplement state and local resources for disaster relief and recovery. Except in the case of an emergency involving a subject area that is exclusively or preeminently in the federal purview, the Governor of an affected state, or Acting Governor if the Governor is not available, must request such a declaration by the President. This report will review the statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the affected state seeking the declaration and to the Presidential declaration, and will note the different types of resources that may be made available in the response to the two types of declarations. This report will updated as needed.


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