New article from Scientific American: Communities are spending money on disasters at the wrong time: after the damage has been done, not before.
That is the central theme Zurich Insurance Group takes in a recently released report that draws conclusions about natural disaster mitigation by analyzing a series of 12 events—floods, storms and hurricanes—since the summer of 2013.
In its study, the global insurer found that every $1 spent on “disaster resilience” saves $5 in limiting future costs, including post-storm cleanup efforts.
In recent years, various reports have cited savings of $4,.$5, and $6 dollars in costs but whatever the number the message is mitigation pays.
The Diva was watching Nightly Business News on May 30th and was especially interested in a feature they did about potential flooding in Boston harbor and its effects on current and planned real estate development in that area. [Personal note: the Diva is from the Boston area and her dad owned a store in the harbor area.]
I was told by a Boston-based friend that recently there has been extensive news coverage regarding a proposed flood barrier costing over $12 billion dollars, which will not be fully completed until 2050. That is a long time to wait, and one can only wonder if a barrier will in fact solve the Boston Harbor inundation problem due to sea level rise.
I was told that Boston’s 2015 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan did not include the proposed flood barrier, but preferred natural shoreline solutions which are much less expensive to implement on a quicker timeline.
For those interested in the Boston mitigation situation, which is probably a bellweather for other major eastern coastal cities, here are several news articles:
Comprehensive strategy required to tackle Houston flooding problems.
Major report on flood mitigation needed in Houston. The direct URL for the report described is at the end of the article.
Update: see the comment added to this posting for additional resources.
Here is the direct link to the new study by the National Institute for Building Science re Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves.
Important study on the costs and benefits of mitigation. An update on an earlier study, with even more encouraging results.
Update on June 8. See the IBHS site called Mitigation Matters. It too explains the 6 to 1 cost benefit ratio.
New report re research done at TX A&M: Handling disasters differently critical for coastal cities.
This is a significant report, based on 5 years of research.
A key finding of the new study is: Mitigation Saves: Federal Mitigation Grants Save $6 per $1 Spent, Exceeding Building Codes Saves $4 per $1 Spent. The title of the study is: Investing in Mitigation to Build a More Resilient Nation.
Here is an article from Bloomberg on the report: Disaster Mitigation Programs Targeted by Trump Seen Saving Money.
Staying safe from disasters pays, but will funders listen? Excerpts:
The startup MyStrongHome, which works in the coastal areas of Alabama, Louisiana and South Carolina, allows homeowners to pay for a new, reinforced roof out of savings from the lower insurance bills they get thanks to their dwelling being safer.
Green estimates that potential losses in a storm would be 30 to 60 percent lower in the strengthened homes. The work, carried out by the firm’s contractors, typically costs around $10,000. Participants make a down-payment of between $2,000 and $3,000, and pay back the rest over five to seven years.
New metric shows that when building in areas prone to natural disasters, it pays to make informed decisions
Hazard-induced maintenance costs can be significant over the lifetime of a building. Researchers at the MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub (CSHub) are developing new methods to calculate the benefits of investing in more hazard-resistant structures. Jeremy Gregory, executive director of the CSHub recently presented one metric, the CSHub’s Break-Even Hazard Mitigation Percentage (BEMP), to officials in Florida and Georgia—states that can see millions in property damage due to hurricanes.
“The BEMP evaluates the cost-effectiveness of mitigation features for a building in a particular location by factoring in the expected damage a conventional building designed to code would endure over its lifetime, and comparing it to a more resilient, enhanced building design,” says Gregory. “In areas prone to natural disasters, more spending on mitigation is justified—the BEMP helps to identify how much extra spending is recommended.”