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Grassroots Role in Disaster Response: Don't Wait for Washington

Recorded on May 16, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

The advent of this year's hurricane season and the recent devastation of Greensburg, Kansas by a tornado remind Americans that dealing with disasters is serious business.  Following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in the summer of 2005, Washington justly received serious criticism for the shortfalls in federal assistance.  Too much attention, however, was given to the role of government and too little to the efforts of those who can and should make the biggest difference in ensuring that communities can weather the critical first hours and days of a crisis - people in the communities themselves.  The greatest advance America could make in preparing for catastrophic disasters is building better community-based programs.  Washington should play a limited role, enabling and encouraging states and communities to take the lead in empowering people to take care of people during disasters.  Join us as a panel of experts discusses the proper roles of government and citizen's response during disasters.