Updated: June 3, 1999
A major disaster or emergency will cause numerous fatalities and injuries,
property loss, and disruption of normal life-support systems, and will
have an impact on the regional economic, physical, and social infrastructures.
The extent of casualties and damage will reflect factors such as the time
of occurrence, severity of impact, weather conditions, population density,
building construction, and the possible triggering of secondary events
such as fires and floods.
The large number of casualties, heavy damage to buildings and basic infrastructure,
and disruption of essential public services will overwhelm the capabilities
of the State and its local governments to meet the needs of the situation,
and the President will declare a major disaster or emergency.
Federal agencies will need to respond on short notice to provide timely
and effective assistance.
The degree of Federal involvement will be related to the severity and magnitude
of the event as well as the State and local need for external support.
The most devastating disasters may require the full range of Federal response
and recovery assistance. Less damaging disasters may require only
partial Federal response and recovery assistance. Some disasters
may require only Federal recovery assistance.