Relief for disasters in the United States includes assistance during the evacuation, response, recovery, and planning stages of declared disasters, and is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as other governmental and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

History of U.S. Disaster Funding

Prior to 1889, disaster relief was administered in an ad-hoc basis by the U.S. Department of War, or was largely a local phenomenon. Although appeals were made through newspapers to send money and relief supplies, survivors typically formed committees and administered relief. Beginning with the Thumb Fire in Michigan in 1881, the American Red Cross began to distribute disaster relief as a nongovernmental organization, but even this was informal and at a local scale.

In 1889, in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the question of social responsibility ...

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