$16B in Federal Funding for Recovery is in Limbo

Just get moving.’ Trump admin sits on $16B for disasters

Texas is one of nearly a dozen states and territories waiting for the Department of Housing and Urban Development to unlock $16 billion in disaster mitigation funds that were allocated nearly a year ago by Congress to help vulnerable communities get ready for the next Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or Maria.

Two major hurricanes made landfall since the money was approved. Still, states and territories like Texas, Louisiana, Florida and Puerto Rico are unable to tap the largest well of disaster mitigation funds ever appropriated by Congress.

Nobody seems to know why.

HUD officials — back from a 35-day furlough — aren’t saying when the administrative logjam will clear. “We hope to publish the program rules shortly. Precisely when, I can’t say,” agency spokesman Brian Sullivan said in an email early this week. He provided no additional details.

Officials in coastal states, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, say that every day of delay is one day closer to the 2019 hurricane season, and the prospect of billions of dollars in additional property losses.

“Building Cultures of Preparedness”

New report released by FEMA’s Higher Ed Program: Building Cultures of Preparedness (40 pp.); Jan. 2019.

The Diva thinks this is an unusually well written and thoughtful report on a topic that may be new for many. She highly recommends it.

The first goal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 2018-2022 Strategic Plan is to Build a Culture of Preparedness. Preparedness strategies to date have increased first responder and government capabilities, but individual and community progress towards enhanced levels of preparedness have been limited. Achieving the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan’s vision of enhanced preparedness requires a bottom-up approach to close these gaps.

This report highlights the vast diversity of American communities and households, indicating that a one-size-fits-all strategy is not well-suited to the specific demands of variable and distinctive environments – our Culture of Preparedness will have to be built one community at a time. Preparedness is a local matter, requiring solutions tailored to different cultural contexts and embraced by communities. Supporting the vision of a resilient nation in the Strategic Plan requires us to think in the plural, in terms of building ‘Culture(s) of Preparedness’.

This report presents a culture-based approach to the preparedness goals laid out in the Strategic Plan. It lays out four Guiding Principles for building Cultures of Preparedness, followed by practical strategies and examples that demonstrate successful outcomes in real-world settings:

Trust – Develop trust by understanding the culture, context, and history of communities outside of disaster, as well as when an event occurs.

Inclusion – Bring the cultural perspectives of all stakeholders to the table

Cross-cultural communication – Design communication efforts as cross-cultural encounters.

Support local practices and successes – Learn about the ways people are already prepared and enhance these efforts using culturally-aware strategies.





Aftermath of CA Fires – cleanup problems

Why the Cleanup From California’s Camp Fire Could Hit a Major Roadblock. A potential problem has emerged: Nearly half of the property owners in the hill country around Paradise have not given the government permission to enter their properties to do the work.

Preliminary cleanup has already begun for what may be a $2 billion-plus effort, said to be the largest and costliest in state history. The main work, involving a complete scraping and clearing of burned-out properties, is scheduled to begin later this week.

San Francisco Mayor Orders Preparations for “the big one.”

From HSToday: Mayor Orders San Francisco to Prepare for the Big One: 72 Percent Chance Before 2043

According to a statement from the Office of Mayor London Breed, “It is estimated that San Francisco has a 72 percent chance of experiencing a 6.7 magnitude or greater earthquake before 2043.”

Breed says, “We know that the next major earthquake will hit at any time and every day we should be working to prepare for it,” announcing that she is ordering city organs to “make our buildings safer now, but also [create] a comprehensive plan” for recovery in the face of an eventual disaster.

Comparison of Federal Responses to Three 2017 Hurricanes

Quantifying inequities in US federal response to hurricane disaster in Texas and Florida compared with Puerto Rico. ( 6 pp.)

Our results show that the federal government responded on a larger scale and much more quickly across measures of federal money and staffing to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida, compared with Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. The variation in the responses was not commensurate with storm severity and need after landfall in the case of Puerto Rico compared with Texas and Florida. Assuming that disaster responses should be at least commensurate to the degree of storm severity and need of the population, the insufficient response received by Puerto Rico raises concern for growth in health disparities and increases in adverse health outcomes