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9/11 response assessed

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Nonprofits and the federal government gave more money in response to 9/11 than in any previous disaster, but public-private disaster relief exposed many flaws, a new report says.

Government agencies and nonprofits showed unusual flexibility and speed to help those in need, but were slow to develop common forms and procedures and to coordinate case management, says the report by the Ford Foundation.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency had advised nonprofits to remain in their historical role of long-term recovery, while the government provided initial response aid, but the overwhelmed government quickly needed the assistance of nonprofits.

To improve response to future disasters, the report suggests creating a Disaster Relief and Recovery Commission to clarify the responsibilities of government, nonprofits, insurance and individuals.

The report also recommends that large urban areas develop an emergency plan that creates one-stop aid centers, lists agencies and services available, creates a digital information-sharing system and outlines ways to coordinate case management.

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