Cities Benefit from Covid Relief Funds

From the WashPost: As Covid relief money floods in, pandemic-battered cities see a chance to transform..
“Researchers who study American cities say leaders are right to think big and creatively, once they’ve filled the gaps created by the pandemic. The influx of money as part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is unlike any that cities have seen in decades, with relatively few restrictions attached to its use.”

Lawmakers Seek Clarification from FEMA

From FederalNewsNetwork: Lawmakers ask FEMA how to avoid future communication breakdowns during disasters.

“Right now, FEMA is dealing with 960 declared disasters around the country – at least one in every state – and not all of them are COVID-19 related. Of the agency’s 52 federal coordinating officers for disaster management, only one is not currently assigned to a disaster.

Aside from the pandemic – FEMA is helping with an influx of migrants at the southern border, prepping for wildfire and hurricane seasons, and responding to damage from severe winter storms across the middle of the country. However, it was COVID-19 specifically that highlighted weaknesses in the chain of command. A report released in January said that neither FEMA nor the Department of Health and Human Services understood the domestic supply chain at the beginning of this response.”

Water Systems in Crisis

From HSNW: The U.S. Water and Wastewater Crisis – How Many Wake-up Calls Are Enough?

In February, much of Texas plunged into darkness when the state’s electricity grid failed due to extreme cold weather conditions. What started as a foreseeable blackout quickly became a life-threatening calamity. “This catastrophe illustrates what happens when aging and inadequate infrastructure is hit by extreme rain or snow—an increasingly regular occurrence due to climate change,” Lucía Falcón Palomar, Obinna Maduka, and JoAnn Kamuf Ward write. “And, the matter extends well beyond Texas. It is easy to forget that, within U.S. borders, communities have long endured the conditions seen in Texas in February.”