This approval follows those mentioned earlier, for the State of the NY and NJ. As of May 10, the NY city plan was reported as approved. More details are available on this website of the city government.
Some excerpts of the new article:
Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced HUD’s approval of New York City’s disaster recovery plan to help homeowners and businesses following Hurricane Sandy. Funded through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, New York City’s action plan calls for a combined $1.77 billion investment in a variety of housing, infrastructure and business recovery activities.
The federal government has been on the ground since Sandy struck and will continue to provide substantial resources and technical assistance until the entire region is rebuilt safer, better and stronger. To date, FEMA has provided over $1.2 billion in individual and public assistance in New York City and the Small Business Administration has provided over $1.4 billion in disaster recovery loans to businesses throughout New York State.
Donovan, who also chairs President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, said today’s approval will allow the City to begin the long-term process of rebuilding damaged housing, restoring infrastructure, and stimulating business activity and job growth.“This plan is truly a neighborhood-based approach to disaster recovery,” said Donovan. “We’ve worked closely with Mayor Bloomberg, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, and the New York Congressional Delegation throughout this process to help families get back in their homes, jumpstart local economies and make communities more resilient.”
In recent weeks, two topics have been keeping me up at night:
(1) The sheer volume of guidance, reports, documents, directives and the like that are coming from FEMA and other federal agencies responsible for emergency management.
As noted in an earlier posting, there is an inverse relationship between the volume of materials to be read and understood and incorporated into planning in practice and the resources (personnel and money) available at the state and local levels of government. I assume also that the Red Cross and many non-governmental organizations also are feeling the effects of sequester-driven and other budget reductions.
(2) Leadership, primarily lack of. The very agencies who issue the documents noted above are not willing or not able to show the flag and lead the way. Just today, the Wash. Post noted huge cutbacks in the number of meteorologist on staff at the National Weather Service and their ability to perform vital functions n times of weather emergencies are seriously impaired.
Somehow the requirements have to be streamlined and rationalized so that the reduced workforce and resource base can get the most essential tasks and functions done, and at the same time the reports and non-essential paperwork requirements get reduced.
As promised, here is some new material on the topic of leadership:
Two weeks ago the Diva was in London Ontario, participating in an invitational conference on Leaderships held at the University of Western Ontario. The small group of participants was convened by the Team of Leaders organization, comprised on Canadian and American professionals in the various elements of emergency management. You can see some of the past work of the organization, and in the near future I expect they will post a proceedings of the conference. [(I will feature that fact and provide a URL when it is available.)
One of the documents shared at the conference was the report titled: Leadership on Trial: a Manifesto for Leadership Development (2010). For a preview of the report and ordering info, go to this site. There also is a slide set available here: Collaboration Conference.
Rebuilding After Sandy But With Costly New Rules. NYTimes, May 8. The discussion of subsidized insurance and issues with older homes is useful to understand some of the rebuilding delays occurring currently.
Here are some excerpts:
It’s been more than six months since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, yet many people whose homes were ravaged by the storm still do not know how to put all the pieces back together.By now, most know how much insurance money they have to work with, though plenty of people are still struggling to get more. But a new federal law that happened to coincide with the arrival of the storm will cause flood insurance premiums to skyrocket and require stricter, and thus more expensive, rebuilding standards
So in the most devastated communities, families are being forced to make difficult financial calculations: can they afford the new flood insurance premiums, which, at worst, can reach as high as $30,000 a year? Do they have the money to rebuild their homes to the government’s new specifications? Does it even pay to stay?
Two readers called this article to my attention. And Ian McLean from New Zealand pointed out that his country has a similar problem with earthquake insurance in the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes.
The Center for American Progress released this new report: Disastrous Spending: Federal Disaster-Relief Expenditures Rise Amid More Extreme Weather.
Here isanother take on this report: Disasters Caused by Climate Change Cost Every American Houseold $400 per Year.
- Disastrous Spending: Federal Disaster-Relief Expenditures Rise amid More Extreme Weather (buckyworld.me)
- The government is spending way more on disaster relief than anybody thought (washingtonpost.com)
- The Next Government Spending Crisis: Disaster Relief (businessinsider.com)
Based on the recent question I posed about what documents readers are/are not interested in, and fueled by several conversations with federal officials and contractors dealing with the aftermath of H. Sandy, I wonder whether the U.S. emergency management system at the federal level has become excessively demanding. And are the directives and requirements excessive with regard to current state and local capabilities and budgets?
My personal view is that President Policy Directive #8 (PPD8), issued in march 2011, and the various documents and requirement flowing from it, was the tipping point. It seems to me that the directives get more abstract, difficult, and lengthy, yet the the staff and budgets at various agencies, organizations –and particularly state and local government–are sloping downward. Added to those problems, federal grants are down significantly and many federally-supported educational efforts have been cut.
Even with all domains of society involved in disaster response and recovery, the likelihood of achieving the lofty goals and objectives of the above-mentioned directives and frameworks with current resources is not promising.
Now, what is your view about this topic? I am curious if I am alone in climbing out this branch of the tree!
NOTE: Be sure to read the comments. They make the point better than I did.
A few days ago, I posted news about two new resources: (1) NFPA 1600 and (2) National Mitigation Framework from FEMA. In reviewing the hit count for recent postings, I see that the first mentioned got 278 hits and the second one got 10. of 5/8.
That is quite a sizable difference and I would be interesting in knowing why (1) is of so much greater interest than (2). The Diva keeps trying to guess what readers will find interesting and useful, but it is not an easy task!
Update: As Bill Cumming notes in his comments below, “NFPA 1600 is probably the best known voluntary standard in the EM and public safety and Fire Service community. It has evolved over time and now is a mandatory standard in some States and local government circles. Thus the wide interest in its coverage and evolution.”
News article from HS Wire on May 6, 2013: Finding the Right Balance for Natural Hazard Mitigation.
Uncertainty issues are paramount in the assessment of risks posed by natural hazards and in developing strategies to alleviate their consequences.Researchers describe a model that estimates the balance between costs and benefits of mitigation — efforts to reduce losses by taking action now to reduce consequences later — following natural disasters, as well as rebuilding defenses in their aftermath.
The full journal article from the Society and Industrial Applied Mathematics is available for a fee.
- Finding a sensible balance for natural hazard mitigation with mathematical models (environmentalresearchweb.org)
- Rollout of Philadelphia’s Draft Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan (gloucestercitynews.net)