Lieberman, Collins Call for Improved Collaboration Among States in National Disaster Response

WASHINGTON – Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Monday issued the following statement on a report by the Government Accountability Office examining the disaster-response capacity of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) network:

“GAO’s report highlights the crucial role EMAC plays in providing individual states battling disaster with access to resources and emergency workers from other states and localities. Although created only 12 years ago, the EMAC network has rapidly grown into a necessary and vital component of our nation’s disaster response efforts. The most striking example is EMAC’s deployment of 66,000 aid workers to the Gulf Coast in 2005 to help with disaster response and recovery – roughly 50 percent of all out-of-state responders during the aftermath of those hurricanes.

“However, the report also notes major growing pains affecting EMAC’s capacity to respond to large-scale disasters. Its framework, policies, procedures, and practices have not kept pace with its growing role as an essential player in disaster response.

“Both the states and the federal government need to play a role in strengthening EMAC. We in the federal government must continue to support EMAC to help sustain its growing operations so that states continue to use this valuable tool for responding to future disasters quickly and efficiently.”