With tornados and earthquakes and hurricanes and fires abound, 2011 has been a pretty disaster-y year for the U.S. In fact, the first nine months of 2011 have seen more offically-declared natural disasters than any other year in the 58-year existence of FEMA, as Joe Romm at ThinkProgress points out. The emergency relief agency declared 84 natural disasters so far this year, up three already from 2010, when, yes, the previous record was set. It's probable that all other things being equal, today's FEMA is a bit more liberal in what it declares a natural disaster as it was has been in the past. But the number of disasters explains why the agency has run out of funding, even if it doesn't explain why its budget has become the latest imminent threat to shut down the government.
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