In early October, deadly Hurricane Matthew caused severe flooding in the Southeastern United States after it made landfall at several points along the coast. Not only was the coast affected, the hurricane caused rivers more inland to rise and escape their banks, impacting communities that were otherwise unprepared for disaster. The storm left at least 26 dead and damaged about $1.5 billion in property, including homes, businesses and government buildings, according to officials with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety in a story from ABC News.

The real problem that occurred in North Carolina was that the storm wasn’t projected to have much impact there so people didn’t prepare. As a result, the state incurred damage that continues long after the storm passed and waters receded. But what is our government’s role in natural disasters?

According to the University of Florida’s “The Disaster Handbook,” in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, federal assistance is made available only after a formal request has been made by a state’s governor. The extent or the impact of a natural or man-made event can qualify a region of a state to be declared a disaster. The President makes this declaration, and once made, it initiates the efforts of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA. FEMA reacts as quickly as possible to the devastation caused by a disaster to provide immediate aid and relief to those affected; this is known as the disaster response phase. After the disaster is over and it is time to rebuild, the recovery phase begins, and with it come additional sources of aid.

When it came to Hurricane Matthew, President Obama declared states of emergency in the affected states the week of the storm to ensure additional federal funds would be released for recovery. In addition, he was in contact with the respective states’ governors during the disaster. However, this action isn’t always taken as swiftly. When Hurricane Sandy hit in late October of 2012, additional relief and recovery funding, though cleared by the Senate, wasn’t approved until late January 2013 when the House was back in session. Ensuring aid reaches states impacted by natural disasters fast is crucial to rebuilding.

How would President Elect Trump handle a hurricane or natural disaster in office? We can’t presume to know, but what we do know is what you can do when your home suffers water damage from flooding. Cleaning up from a flood is a long process. First comes the initial clean up, salvaging of items, and evaluation of your home. Is it stable? Is it safe? Bringing in the experts soon is crucial to getting back to normal after suffering damage from a natural disaster. When you experience a major disaster in your home or business we want you to call Carrara because we have a lot of experience in making sure you’ll get the full value owed to you under your insurance policy.