Mitigation is the effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disasters. Measures can take place before, during or following a disaster. The federal government, through a variety of grants and agencies such as FEMA, EWP and CDBG-DR among others, help reduce the impact of future disasters. There is even a 5% initiative for HMGP funds for some projects where cost-effective measures are difficult to evaluate. The mindset behind these mitigation measures is if it costs a reasonable amount of money, the government would rather spend the difference to prevent the same problem happening over and over.
For some mitigation funding, you don’t even need to be affected by the disaster. You just need to be in the same state. As a taxpayer and a disaster recovery consultant, I appreciate and respect this.
Now, consider these numbers:
- Since 2000, there have been 121 Major Disaster Declarations in Gulf Coast States (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas)
- Of those, 111 were water-related disasters such as hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, and severe storms. They accounted for 16% of all water-related disasters nationwide.
- There have been $196 billion in weather and climate disasters in the US since it began tracking in 1980. As of July 8th of this year, eight disasters costing over a billion dollars have occurred just in 2016 in the US, six of which were in Gulf Coast States.
- Hurricane Katrina is the costliest US weather related disaster at $158.3 billion.
The recent flooding along the Gulf Coast and aftermath of Hurricane Hermine is likely to add disaster costs of $1 billion from three recent disasters. These states can’t do anything to relocate their landmasses, nor can they control the weather, but there are some ways to avoid the same fates year after year.
Some places are implementing these measures, and it has been proven successful. Some places just need to continue on the path they are on, and other places need to begin to implement some of the mitigation measures below:
- Raise structures above the 10, 25 or 50 year flood plain within a certain radius from the coast
- Bury power lines to help avoid power outages
- Create wet/dry/flood-proof critical infrastructure such as power plants and water treatment plants
- Elevate critical electronic components
- Relocate critical infrastructure
- Buyout structures and implement non-build zones in the floodplain
Reconsider the quote from one of the greatest minds in human history. It sounds like it just might apply in the world of disaster mitigation to me.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
If you would like to learn about ways to effectively use measures and maximize mitigation dollars, please feel free to contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or get a free disaster mitigation assessment.
YOU CAN ALSO LEARN MORE ABOUT EFFECTIVE MITIGATION PROCESSES. START WITH THE FREE CDR MAGUIRE KEY TO RECOVERY FOR A COMPREHENSIVE LISTS OF CONSIDERATIONS.