Which may be somewhat good news-- if government-provided disaster relief is going to be a fact of life, better it be provided at as local a level as possible. Federally provided disaster relief is akin to a federally provided economy. Back when Katrina hit, story after story of inefficient and ineffective federal relief efforts came across the wires. My (least?) favorite is the report on the distribution of ice. The private sector, meanwhile, did an amazing job at providing relief to sufferers of Katrina, most notably through the efforts of the Red Cross and Wal-Mart.
The way I see it, being hit by a natural disaster is usually about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. As it turns out, getting federal relief is about being in the wrong place at the wrong time in the right place at the right time. Having the