The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is an agency of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The purpose of FEMA is to coordinate the response to a disaster which has occurred in the United States and which overwhelms the resources of local and state authorities. The governor of the state in which the disaster occurred must declare a state of emergency and formally request from the President that FEMA and the federal government respond to the disaster. [...] Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, Congress passed the Homeland Security Act of 2002, which created the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to better coordinate among the different federal agencies that deal with law enforcement, disaster preparedness and recovery, border protection and civil defense. FEMA was absorbed into DHS as of 2003. As a result, FEMA became part of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Directorate of Department of Homeland Security [...] Emergency management professionals testified that funds for preparedness for natural hazards was given less priority than preparations for counter terrorism measures.
(source: Wikipedia July 2008)