International Disasters and Humanitarian Assistance: U.S. Governmental Response [January 3, 2005]   [open pdf - 47KB]

"The President can provide emergency humanitarian assistance through several sources whose funding is authorized and appropriated by Congress. These are: funds appropriated to the Office of Foreign Disaster Administration (OFDA) in the Agency for International Development (USAID); U.S. Department of Agriculture food aid programs under P.L. 480 Food for Peace and section 416 (b) of the Agriculture Act of 1949; the State Department Emergency Refugee and Migration Account (ERMA) a contingency account which can contain as much as $100 million for assistance to refugees fleeing persecution; and funds appropriated to the Department of Defense, Overseas Humanitarian and Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA). These funds are also available for some non-emergency programs. In addition, the President has the authority to draw down defense equipment and direct military personnel to respond to disasters and provide space-available transportation on military aircraft and ships to private donors who wish to transport humanitarian goods and equipment in response to a disaster. Finally, the President can request other government agencies to assist within their capabilities. In FY2004 the United States contributed more than $2.4 billion to disaster relief worldwide."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL32714
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