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What is an Emergency Declaration?

The President can declare an emergency for any occasion or instance when the President determines federal assistance is needed.  Emergency declarations supplement State and local or Indian tribal government efforts in providing emergency services, such as the protection of lives, property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.  The total amount of assistance provided for in a single emergency may not exceed $5 million. The President shall report to Congress if this amount is exceeded. 

(Source: FEMA How a Disaster Gets Declared)