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By Fred C. Pampel

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The response would begin with police, firefighters, public health and medical workers, emergency managers, and other personnel located closest to the event. Federal support would come only when the incident exceeded local or state capabilities. ”51 The NRP proposed three general strategies to reach these laudable goals. First, it advised setting up a procedure to declare that an Incident of National Significance occurred. An Incident of National Significance is an event that threatens such extraordinary casualties, damage, and disruption as to require a coordinated response from all levels of government, the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations.

First responders were in place to supply water, food, and medical care almost immediately. FEMA also offered financial assistance to victims within days of the hurricane. Some heavily flooded rural areas proved difficult to reach, however, and led to complaints over a slow response. Jesse Jackson, for example, accused FEMA of not doing enough to help the primarily AfricanAmerican population in rural parts of North Carolina and Virginia. This accusation of racism in disaster response echoed those following many other disasters in the South (and foretold criticism to come after Katrina in 2005).

First responders, so important in the attacks on New York City and the Pentagon, received funds for new training and equipment. Local emergency management organizations received funds to develop plans and go through exercises. And communities across the country received funds to simulate a terrorist attack and response. However, a real test of the NRP would come in less than a year after its publication. S. history. Katrina caused at least 1,863 confirmed deaths and 1,840 missing persons now presumed dead.

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