GAO concludes that FEMA should study how other agencies train their disaster reservist workforce

In a report released in April, The Government Accountability Office (GAO) compared FEMA’s training of reservists with the training provided at agencies with a similar disaster mission – and found similarities and differences. FEMA relies heavily upon these 6,795 on-call reservists (36% of total workforce), but financial planning factors have limited the agency’s ability to train them. FEMA officials agreed with the GAO recommendations and will soon allow up to two weeks of reservist training outside of deployments.

Hurricane Sandy was one of 46 federal major disaster declarations in 2012. More than 2,300 FEMA personnel worked to support response operations.


After Quake, Donors Shun Aid Groups Run by China

The devastating earthquake that struck southwest China in April drew a flood of donations from across the country. But contrary to what happened in 2008, most of the donations went to private charities like Sina Microcharities, which raised $13 million, or The One Foundation.

A state-run organization, The Red Cross Society of China has yet to recover from a 2011 scandal centred on the lavish lifestyle of Guo Meimei, ‘commercial general manager’, suspected to be the mistress of a top executive. The scandal broke out just after the charity had raised $650 million in donations for the Sichuan quake relief effort.


The government is spending way more on disaster relief than anybody thought

A new report from the Center for American Progress finds that Congress spent at least $136 billion on disaster relief between 2011 and 2013, or $400 per household per year. No one in the government could indicate exactly how much Congress had been spending on disaster relief, and the report required a comprehensive investigation form Centre researchers.

A wide variety of agencies have received money to deal with extreme weather events, FEMA ($55 billion) and the Department of Agriculture ($27 billion) being the most important recipients. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the number of severe weather events has risen from an average of two per year in the 1980s to more than ten per year since 2010. This is due to climate change, but also to the growth of the population, with more people settling in risk areas, and the general raise in housing and infrastructure prices.