Planning for Large Scale Disasters and Displacement

As I watch the news accounts of the LA floods — with about 60,000 homes damaged to some extent and most owners with no flood insurance — I cannot help but think that our current federal response system and the National Flood Insurance Program are not adequate for the larger and more complex disasters the U.S. is experiencing. Whether or not these events are caused by climate change, the point is we need to think bigger and better about disasters. Also, I predict that FEMA is going to take a lot of abuse that it does not deserve, because of the limitations of its enabling legislation.

From the Wash. Post on August 19th: As People Flee Disasters Is This What Climate Change Looks Like? One quote from the article:

This is merely a foretaste of what will happen in the decades to come on a much more massive scale,” said Michael Gerrard, who directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University. “Few places have undertaken serious planning that ultimately there’s going to have to be, and I’m talking about decades, large-scale movement inland in many coastal areas.”

4 thoughts on “Planning for Large Scale Disasters and Displacement

  1. Claire,

    The largest humanitarian relief effort in US history was the immediate aftermath of WW 2 in Western Europe. The number of people being sheltered, fed, processed and transported were staggering. Unfortunately,none of those lessons, so far as I know, we’re ever translated and captured domestically.

    • Good point. I cannot quickly think of any reports on that. My initial thought is that the military probably took the lead.

      As I recall some of the legendary sociologists in the EM field – Chas. Fritz, E. Quarantelli, and Russ Dynes – did review WWII experiences and derive some knowledge from them.

  2. What we saw in MS is that many people moved north of I-10. Based on the news last night, there are likely more doing the same in LA. The NFIP is broken – we all know it. But I think that what has to happen is that houses in flood zones have to start having warnings attached to them. Just like foods have to list calories, carbs and cholesterol, houses should have clear warnings – X% likelihood of flood over the life of the property, Y% likelihood of severe winds…

    PS. I find both the headline and the quote distasteful – too much like political posturing over the real human tragedies.

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