The Northridge Earthquake: Vulnerability and Disaster

By Robert Bolin; Lois Stanford | Go to book overview

NOTES
1
FEMA’s Public Assistance Programs reimburse municipalities, counties, and eligible NGOs for repairs to public infrastructure and buildings, debris removal, and emergency protective measures. While FEMA will provide grants for mitigation to seismically upgrade buildings, they do not fund improvements such as enlarging buildings or other enhancements. Rather they will only pay to return the building to its pre-disaster condition. Further, cities must be able to pay for the repairs themselves, then bill FEMA, who will reimburse cities for allowable costs. Cities may or may not get reimbursement if they stray from FEMA guidelines and they have to assiduously document their expenditures. It is a time-consuming process and cities may wait a year or more before their reimbursements begin to trickle in. HUD and EDA programs, on the other hand provide the money ‘up front’ and allow considerable leeway in use of funds for development programs. Unlike the preceding, FEMA’s mandate is quite specifically to assist communities in ‘getting back to normal’, not to fund community-wide enhancement plans.
2
These are totals to the Ventura County Board of Supervisors. They do not include grants issued to the Simi Valley City government, nor do they include assistance given by FEMA, HUD, and SBA to individuals in the county. Ventura County had earthquake insurance on county buildings in the county which reduced their need for public assistance grants for repairs.
3
Emergency managers and political leaders at all four peripheral sites made various claims about being forgotten or being ignored by FEMA. All believed that their respective communities were being overshadowed by the City of Los Angeles and its ability to command federal attention and resources. It is clear that Los Angeles was far better able to conduct preliminary damage assessments than other cities, and to present its needs to FEMA rapidly. Ventura County was not included in the initial declaration, having to wait two full days before federal aid was authorized, a point which resurfaced periodically in claims about ‘being ignored’ by FEMA. As with the City of Los Angeles, FEMA gave public assistance funds to Santa Clarita prior to receiving reimbursement claims. The $7 million given ‘up front’ to the city weakens its claim that it was low priority, as no Ventura County city received such funding prior to reimbursement claims.

-217-

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The Northridge Earthquake: Vulnerability and Disaster
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Contents vii
  • Contents viii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • 1 - A Common Disaster 1
  • 2 - Perspectives on Disasters 27
  • 3 - Situating the Northridge Earthquake 64
  • 4 - Situating the Communities and the Research 105
  • 5 - Responding to Northridge 130
  • 6 - Restructuring After Northridge 185
  • Notes 217
  • 7 - Vulnerability, Sustainability, and Social Change 218
  • References 238
  • Name Index 256
  • Subject Index 261
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