Disaster Relief Act Law and Legal Definition

Disaster Relief Act is a U.S. federal statute that provides the means by which the federal government can help state and local governments to relieve suffering and damage resulting from disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides, mudslides, drought, fire, and explosions. It was amended in 1974 to include the process of presidential disaster declarations. At one point, more than one hundred federal agencies were involved in handling disasters and emergencies. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter consolidated many of them into the new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In 1988, the Act was amended and renamed as Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act. This was again amended by the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000.