United States Federal Government Response to Domestic and International Natural Disasters: Case Study


This case study examines the capabilities of two American disaster relief agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), to respond to natural disasters. Specifically, the paper compares FEMA’s response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans to OFDA’s role in the aftermath of Hurricane Stan in Guatemala, focusing on the impact of institutional structure on the agencies’ response capabilities, including FEMA’s operations within the Department of Homeland Security, identifying specific disaster relief mechanisms that are generally deemed to be effective, domestically and internationally, and considering whether the same mechanisms can be effective in both settings.


International Relations | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration

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