Recovery Reveals Major Issues After H. Harvey in TX

From a business insurance source: Harvey damage illustrates need for disaster preparedness: Study. Excerpts:

Hurricane Harvey served as a stark wake-up call about the need to enhance flood resilience, including limiting or preventing federal insurance coverage of new properties in flood zones, according to a study released Thursday.

Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on Aug. 25, 2017, as a Category 4 storm and dropped more than 40 inches of rain over the next four days, causing catastrophic flooding. Total economic damage from the hurricane is estimated at $125 billion, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management, making it the second-costliest tropical cyclone on record after Hurricane Katrina.

But only a small fraction of these Harvey losses, about $19.4 billion, were insured, including $8.4 billion in flood losses insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, $2.7 billion in insured vehicle losses, $4.9 billion in insured commercial losses and $3.4 billion in other losses, according to a Post-Event Review Capability study on the Houston floods resulting from Harvey conducted by Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., ISET-International — a nonprofit organization committed to building resilience — and the American Red Cross Global Disaster Preparedness Center.

“FEMA Praises Houston’s New Floodplain Regulations”

It is not too often that both FEMA and Houston get some praise. See this article from the Houston Chronicle: FEMA praises Houston’s new floodplain regulations.

All new construction in the city’s floodplains will have to be built two feet above the projected water level in a 500-year storm throughout the 500-year floodplain, the area at risk of inundation in a storm with a 0.2 percent chance of happening in any given year. The rules will take effect Sept. 1.

“This is the type of proactive solution that will help Houston lead the way in preparing for potential crises,” said Kevin Hannes, federal coordinating officer for FEMA’s Texas recovery. “Keeping residents safe and creating resilient communities requires forward-thinking to lessen the impact of inevitable future weather events.”

Texas In the Wake of H. Harvey

From the Texas Tribune this article about the Governor and FEMA: Abbott and FEMA are using Harvey to reinvent disaster response. “Some say that makes displaced Texans ‘guinea pigs.'”

In the six months since state and federal officials decided to use the biggest housing recovery in modern history to rewrite the nation’s disaster playbook, neighborly networks and organized charity have buoyed disheartened Texans on the coast.

Pollution After a Disaster

From the HSWire: Comparing pollution levels before and after Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in late August 2017, brought more than 64 inches of rain to the Houston area, flooding 200,000 homes, 13 Superfund sites, and more than 800 wastewater treatment facilities. As disasters become more frequent and populations living in vulnerable areas increase, interest in the health effects of exposure to the combination of natural and technological disasters has grown.