Improve Disaster Response

The climate is changing, but our disaster-response system isn’t keeping up, experts say.  Once again, the suggestion for the disaster version of the NTSB is made.

“The disaster-response industry is probably the only industry left in the world that uses self-analysis to measure impact and make improvements,” said Thomas Kirsch, director of the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health at the Uniformed Services University.

A research-driven strategy that includes collecting data during or immediately after disasters and comparing results systematically with other studies is critical, said Mike Clarke, founder and research director of Evidence Aid, an organization that provides data on disasters to practitioners and policymakers around the world.

Credit Ratings and Climate Change

From Pew Trusts: Climate Change Could Make Borrowing Costlier for States and Cities.

Someday soon, analysts will determine that a city or county, or maybe a school district or utility, is so vulnerable to sea level rise, flooding, drought or wildfire that it is an investment risk.

To be sure, no community has yet seen its credit rating downgraded because of climate forecasting. And no one has heard of a government struggling to access capital because of its precarious geographical position.

But as ratings firms begin to focus on climate change, and investors increasingly talk about the issue, those involved in the market say now is the time for communities to make serious investments in climate resilience — or risk

PR Plan to Get of of Bankruptcy

Puerto Rico unveils plans to pull the island out of bankruptcy.

The federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances on Friday released a plan that would cut the island’s debt by more than 60% and rescue it from bankruptcy. The highly-anticipated restructuring plan comes three years after Congress created the federal oversight board, which allowed the territory to seek bankruptcy protection after years of facing its inability to pay its debt.

Puerto Rico was dragged into billions of dollars in public debt after decades of mismanagement, corruption and excessive borrowing to balance budgets. The government declared the debt unpayable in June 2015, and nearly two years later filed for the biggest municipal bankruptcy in US history.

BRIC Program Explained

BRIC: Expanding the Concepts of Federal Pre-Disaster Mitigation, by Elizabeth Zimmerman.

BRIC was created as Section 1234 of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, which will replace the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. BRIC is built upon lessons learned from that program. BRIC is funded based on a formula of obligations from the DRF from the previous year for all active disasters, not just one disaster. The percentage for BRIC is 6 percent and is available nationwide. Another difference is when the funding is available, BRIC is pre-disaster versus HMGP is post-disaster.