What is 'Disaster Relief Act'

Disaster relief acts are legislative tools the government can use to provide regulated aid in the event of a disaster. In 1974 the United States government passed the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 which set a precedent for legislative disaster relief in the U.S. The 1974 Act was amended in 1988 by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act with its provisions then becoming the guiding legislature for disaster relief in the U.S.

BREAKING DOWN 'Disaster Relief Act'

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act is known as the guiding legislation for disaster relief in the U.S. It was enacted in 1988 and amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. Across the United States other pieces of legislation have also been introduced and enacted to provide support for regions in high risk of natural disasters or to hep support relief efforts after any type of disaster.

Provisions of the Stafford Disaster Relief Act

United States federal disaster relief law passed in 1974 introduced the process through which the president's declaration of a disaster triggers a system of financial and other assistance by the federal government to state and local governments. The Disaster Relief Act of 1974 was amended in 1988 by the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. The Stafford Disaster Relief Act built on the legislation established in 1974. It has been further amended since 1988 but is still known as the guiding legislation for disaster relief across the U.S.

The Stafford Disaster Relief Act seeks to address all aspects of disaster relief and support associated with a disaster. Its provisions pertain to the loss of life, property and income as well as human suffering, and disruption to the normal functioning of governments, communities and private sector institutions. Provisions of the Act are primarily triggered by the U.S. president’s declaration of a disaster. A key provision of the Stafford Act is the activation of federal assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The Stafford Disaster Relief Act seeks to provide an orderly and continuing means of assistance by the federal government to state and local governments. Its provisions enable government agencies to fulfill their responsibilities to alleviate the suffering and damage caused by disasters such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. The legislation includes the release of designated funds and the deployment of assistance through several support groups including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Stafford Disaster Relief Act also seeks to provide a proactive framework for disaster preparation prior to the occurrence of an emergency situation.

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