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The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act states in part that: “All requests for a declaration by the President that a major disaster exists shall be made by the governor of the affected state or territory, or by the tribal leader.”

Visit our How a Disaster Gets Declared page for detailed information on the rules and procedures that guide the process, including:

  • Requirements governors/leaders follow when submitting their request for a presidential disaster declaration.
  • Authorities granting federally recognized Indian tribal governments the option to request a presidential emergency or major disaster declaration.
  • How FEMA regional offices work with state or Indian tribal governments to conduct Preliminary Damage Assessments (PDAs).
  • Factors that determine when individual assistance is made available.