The Corps provides emergency response to natural disasters under Public Law 84-99, which covers flood control and coastal emergencies. It also provides emergency support to other agencies, particularly the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under Public Law 93-288 (the Stafford Act) as amended. Corps emergency assistance is always supplemental to the maximum efforts of state and local agencies and must be coordinated through these agencies. Assistance is not available to individuals.
Under P.L. 84-99, the Chief of Engineers, acting for the Secretary of the Army, is authorized to carry out disaster preparedness work; advance measures; emergency operations such as flood fighting, rescue and emergency relief activities; rehabilitation of flood control works threatened or destroyed by flood; and protection or repair of federally authorized shore protection works threatened or damaged by coastal storms. This act also authorizes the Corps to provide emergency supplies of drinking water in cases of drought or contaminated water supply. After the immediate flooding has passed, and prior to a Presidential Disaster Declaration, the Corps may provide emergency assistance for a 10-day period at the specific request of the governor.
Under the Stafford Act and the National Response Plan, the Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for providing Public Works and Engineering support (ESF #3) in response to a major disaster or catastrophic earthquake. The Corps, in coordination with the DOD and FEMA, will work with state FEMA authorities in providing temporary repair and construction of roads, bridges, and critical public facilities, temporary shelter, debris.