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States has reached the be-all and end-all in legislation on disaster relief. My own experience which goes back 29 years in this field indicates to me that with the changing patterns of this country there is no point in time where Congress can write legislation that will meet the needs of disasters this year, next year and ten years from now.
It is our recommendation, therefore, that the pattern of the House Committee on Public Works in annually reviewing disaster legislation based upon current experience is an essential element in the protective legislative framework for this country. We would strongly recommend that this pattern continue rather than we try to reach a total master plan that is going to answer all disasters for all time because in our experience every disaster represents new problems and particularly in this country.
Mr. Johnson. I certainly want to agree with you at this point. That has been the experience of the committee, that is the last 12 years I have been on it, that the distasters which have come to our attention each one is a little different, and we have treated it with special legislation. Now I do think that in addition to that we do need some sort of a permanent statute setting this up, and that is what we are trying to effect at this time.
Mr. SHEA. Yes, sir. Mr. JOHNSON. Some general guidelines. It is pretty hard to cover all disasters for now or the next 10 years as you say.
Mr. SHEA. The second comment I would like to make is that since the establishment of the Office of Emergency Preparedness and its predecessor organizations the American Red Cross has been pleased and has developed tremendous respect for the competence of this Federal agency in the field of disaster relief, and by coordinating our efforts with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and with the other Federal agencies that operate under its leadership we believe a significant level of progress has been made in meeting the needs of people affected by disaster in this country.
My third comment is in support of the insurance provision of this bill. The American Red Cross has for years supported the availability of insurance at a practicable cost in relation to all disasters, natural disaster hazards in this country. We sincerely hope that the experience under the flood insurance plan will lead to the provision of insurance for those presently uncovered for natural hazards such as earthquake, land subsidence, landslide, and others, volcano, others which are not now covered.
Next, I would like to indicate that the Red Cross believes in coordination. We react to the coordinating role of the Office of Emergency Preparedness. We will continue to act in closest coordination with them. We do believe, however, that the American National Red Cross, which while not a Federal agency, is a Federal instrumentality by legislative history and by judicial decision cannot give over the direction of the expenditure of Red Cross funds, that is the direct relief to people, to any Federal agency other than its own control.
Mr. Johnson. Well, at that point I would like to have you relate your experiences with the disasters in California, the last two, through the State disaster office and the Office of Emergency Preparedness. Could you tell us what part you played there in that particular disaster? How did you offer your services and how were they utilized ? Mr. SHEA. The American National Red Cross is, by legislation in California, a part of the State disaster plan.
Mr. Johnson. That is right.
Mr. SHEA. Our staff operates with the State control center in any disaster including the flood operations. Therefore, our staff are in continuing physical liaison with the State disaster office, the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and we keep them informed daily of our activities, what our problems are, what our needs are, and they in turn bring to our attention any areas in which Red Cross assistance is required by people that may not currently be provided.
Mr. JOHNSON. Very good.
There is in the proposed legislation the development of one-stop service centers, and in Lubbock, Tex., we had an opportunity in a concentrated disaster to cooperate with the Office of Emergency Preparedness and other Federal and local State agencies in the operation of a one-stop service center. The results which are currently being evaluated would indicate that this was very good.
We would only bring to the attention of the committee that in a widespread disaster such as the northern California floods or in Hurricane Camille, the establishment of a one-stop service center is going to have to be multiplied innumerable times to bring the assistance as close to the people as possible, and, therefore, it may not be feasible in all large, widespread disasters to think in terms of one place in which all services will be available.
Mr. JOHNSON. Well that is quite true. In the last big disaster we had there from the standpoint of flood and mudslides and what have you they pretty much covered the whole State and we had 44 counties affected in the State's 58 counties that were declared disaster areas. So I see what you mean there. We would certainly have to have more than one and we did.
Mr. CLAUSEN. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. CLAUSEN. This tends to tie in with the comments of the previous witness wherein she was concerned about the kind of centralized or coordinated relief centers wherein all of the various organizations, and you can in fact be dispensing information as well as the aid that is available through the various programs. So apparently you are in agreement. As a matter of fact, what I would like you to do while she is in the room—you have heard her testimony--and I would like to have your own reaction to some of the comments she made if you are so inclined to do so, if you were able to follow her testimony very closely.
Mr. SHEA. Yes, sir; I think I was. I think the fundamental question that is posed by Miss Crook to the Congress is the question as to whether the natural disaster assistance to people in this country shall be extended through the governmental agency responsible for the welfare activities of the Government, and the Congress up to this point has chosen to extend its assistance on primarily a credit basis through the various loan programs and through the American National Red Cross in terms of direct grants to people.
Now, of course, representing the American National Red Cross, I happen to believe strongly in the role of the voluntary sector in this country not only in the field of disaster relief but in most of the fields in which this country has both problems and concerns. For that reason I would recommend the serious consideration of the continuation of the role of the voluntary sector in this country in the field of disaster relief in which the American people constantly year after year have expressed their desire that they as citizens have an individual responsibility and an opportunity to respond to the needs of their friends and neighbors wherever they may be in this country affected by disaster.
Mr. CLAUSEN. Mr. Shea, I am taking advantage of this opportunity because of Miss Crook's presence now and the testimony that did precede you. One of the concerns that I have is that if there is one thing that I have learned as a result of these experiences in all disasters throughout the country is that there is a tendency to want to turn or look to government to resolve all problems, and I am very much concerned about literally drying up the enthusiasm and the interests on the part of a number of voluntary organizations.
Let me read a paragraph directly from your statement :
Since Camille, we have had followup contacts with a variety of agencies and groups seeking to strengthen existing relationships with Red Cross in time of disaster. These included the Civil Air Patrol, the Mennonites, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Seventh-day Adventists, the National Catholic Disaster Relief Committee, the National Association of Real Estate Boards and other religious and medical groups who represent just a few of the national organizations with which the Red Cross has existing agreements or understandings related to disaster cooperation-organizations who look to the Red Cross for leadership and guidance as to how best their resources may be utilized in time of disaster.
I think this tends to direct itself to what Miss Crook was saying. All that really is required, as I view it, is for them to coordinate more closely with the Red Cross organizations, build up the civil defense disaster coordinating counsel in their local units of government as well as their States, and this must be done in every State of the Union because this is precisely what we have done in California with great success.
Mr. SHEA. The American National Red Cross believes that there must continue to be great flexibility in the operation of disaster relief because, as we mentioned previously, of the difference in each disaster.
I would like at this point to insert a comment in relation to earthquake hazards.
Mr. JOHNSON. You may.
Mr. SHEA. Congressman Clausen is 100 percent correct in his assumption that there is at this moment no action plan in the United States that deals effectively with public information and education on the problems related to earthquake hazards and their potential reduction. I am currently serving as a member of a task force on earthquake hazard reduction. I am very hopeful that the task force report will be quickly forwarded to the committees of Congress because it does contain the beginning elements of a national program in this area.
Mr. CLAUSEN. I am wondering if I could interrupt just for a moment.
Would it be possible for you to at least evaluate the basic information that you now have, inventory it to a point where maybe you could
offer us, if there is authority needed, offer us something in the way
Mr. SHEA. I think the recommendations coming from the task force
Let me give you an example. You had before you Dr. Simpson, a
Mr. CLAUSEN. Let me interrupt again, because among other things
I am so pleased with your comment, and I am hopeful that you will
Mr. SHEA. Well, in relation to floods, up until recent years the
Mr. CLAUSEN. We are going to have a quorum call any minute
Mr. SHEA. Surely. I think it would be very good. Yes, sir.
that the American National Red Cross-it now reads "American
Mr. Chairman, there are no other general comments that we have to
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We want to thank you for your comments here and your response
Mr. SHEA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Johnson. Our next witness will be Mr. David J. Humphreys
STATEMENT OF DAVID J. HUMPHREYS, WASHINGTON COUNSEL,
MANUFACTURED HOUSING ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, ACCOM-
Mr. HUMPHREYS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As a point of information before I begin, I would like to point out
Our association is basically made up of the mobile home dealers,
I have with me Mr. Joseph E. Bonelli, Jr. Mr. Bonelli has been in
In the interest of time, I would be willing to waive the reading of
Mr. JOHNSON. Your statement will appear in its entirety in the rec-
(Statement referred to follows:)