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Tuesday, May 14 • 8:00am - 5:00pm
POSTER: Evaluating Bias of FEMA’s Disaster Relief Aid After Hurricane Harvey

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AUTHORS: Allison Brown, Eastern Connecticut State University

ABSTRACT: In August 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast of the United States and resulted in $125 billion in damages.  Recovery from a national disaster like this requires necessary mitigation strategies to occur for continued resiliency and sustainability of the community.  This is the primary goal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which allocates funds at the discretion of the federal administration upon receiving a state governments’ appeal for disaster assistance. As such, FEMA distributed $1.5 billion in federal funds over the following year to the heaviest hit states including Texas and Louisiana. Although FEMA must abide by Section 308 and 309 of the Stafford Act which prohibits discrimination of funds based on race, disability, sex, English proficiency, home ownership or economic status, research has shown that FEMA has distributed funds unethically after natural disasters including Hurricane Katrina.  Thus, this study statistically and spatially analyzed whether socio-economic factors were significant in predicting the quantity of aid received.  Results of the multivariable regression analysis identified that the percent of people speaking one language at home (French) was significant in determining allocation of disaster relief per county, yet this only explained 2% of the observed disaster relief aid. Therefore, results suggest FEMA did not discriminate by the socio-economic factors; FEMA has demonstrated the effectiveness of incorporating new approaches to reach affected communities. In the future, FEMA should continue to implement Congress’s inclusive approach towards creating resilient communities when mitigating areas through the usage of disaster aid relief.

Tuesday May 14, 2019 8:00am - 5:00pm EDT
STUDENT CENTER: 1st Floor Lobby (Appian Way Entrance)

Attendees (1)