{101} 5121. Congressional findings and declarations

(a) The Congress hereby finds and declares that--

  (1) because disasters often cause loss of life, human suffering, loss of income, and property loss and damage; and

  (2) because disasters often disrupt the normal functioning of   governments and communities, and adversely affect individuals and families with great  severity; special measures, designed to assist the efforts of the affected States in expediting the rendering of aid, assistance, and emergency services, and the reconstruction and rehabilitation of devastated areas, are necessary.

(b) It is the intent of the Congress, by this chapter, to provide an orderly and continuing means of assistance by the Federal Government to State and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to alleviate the suffering and damage which result from such disasters
  (1) revising and broadening the scope of existing disaster relief programs;
  (2) encouraging the development of comprehensive disaster preparedness and assistance plans, programs, capabilities, and organizations by the States and by local governments;
  (3) achieving greater coordination and responsiveness of disaster preparedness and relief programs;
  (4) encouraging individuals, States, and local governments to protect themselves by obtaining insurance coverage to supplement or replace governmental assistance;
  (5) encouraging hazard mitigation measures to reduce losses from disasters, including development of land use and construction regulations; and
  (6) providing Federal assistance programs for both public and private losses sustained in disasters
  (7) Repealed.  Pub.L. 100-707, Title I,   103(a)(1), Nov. 23, 1988, 102 Stat. 4689

{102} 5122.  Definitions As used in this chapter--

       (1) Emergency--"Emergency" means any occasion or instance for      which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance      is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.

       (2) Major disaster--"Major disaster" means any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, winddriven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or, regardless  of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this chapter to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby.

       (3) "United States" means the fifty States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Trust Territory of th  Pacific Islands.

       (4) "State" means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, or the Trust Territory of the  Pacific Islands.

       (5) "Governor" means the chief executive of any State.

       (6) "Local government" means

(A) any county, city, village, town, district, or other political subdivision of any State, any Indian tribe or authorized tribal organization, or Alaska Native village or organization, and
(B) includes any rural community or unincorporated town or village or any other public entity for which an application for assistance is made by a State or political subdivision thereof.
       (7) "Federal agency" means any department, independent establishment, Government corporation, or other agency of the executive branch of the Federal Government, including the United States Postal Service, but shall not include the American National Red Cross.

       (8) Public facility--"Public facility" means the following facilities owned by a State or local government:

 (A) Any flood control, navigation, irrigation, reclamation, public power, sewage treatment and collection, water supply and distribution, watershed development, or airport facility.
 (B) Any non-Federal-aid street, road, or highway.
 (C) Any other public building, structure, or system, including those used for educational, recreational, or cultural purposes.
 (D) Any park.
       (9) Private nonprofit facility--"Private nonprofit facility" means private nonprofit educational, utility, emergency, medical, rehabilitational, and temporary or permanent custodial care facilities (including those for the aged and disabled), other private nonprofit facilities which provide essential services of a governmental nature to the general public, and facilities on Indian reservations as defined by the President.
The FEMA Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG) is FEMA's Public Assistance Grant Bible.


The 2018 PAPPG (V3.0) is effective for all emergencies and major disasters declared on or after August 23, 2017. It supersedes the 2017 PAPPG (V2.0) which is effective for all emergencies and major disasters declared between April 1, 2017 and August 22, 2017.

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DisasterCenter.com is happy to make the Federal Emergency Management Administration's (FEMA) Public Assistance Program and Policy Guide (PAPPG) V 3.0 available in a print format.

FEMA Public Assistance (PA) provides grants to jurisdictions and certain non-profits for the costs of emergency response and for damages to permanent facilities damaged as a result of events that qualify for Presidential Disaster Declarations.  

In terms of dollar amounts, FEMA's Public Assistance Program is the largest grant program that FEMA operates.

FEMA PA can assist with local and State governments? emergency response efforts and in the restoration of public infrastructure after Presidential disaster declarations in the United States.