A report from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that each dollar spent on hazard mitigation can save the nation six dollars in disaster recovery costs. That’s the bottom line; making a structure resilient before a natural hazard (like a storm or flood) is far less expensive than repairing or rebuilding afterwards.
In states and cities where there have been major disasters in recent years, HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program provides mitigation funds. This is a response by congress in part to 2017’s disasters.
Enterprise’s Senior VP for Public Policy and Senior Adviser for Resilience Marion McFadden told Bloomberg “Members of Congress are taking this seriously. They don’t want to throw good money after bad”. Enterprise has submitted to HUD a list of ten recommendations on how to maximize their mitigation investments.
Congress also showed their resolve for mitigation investment by authorizing the president to set aside 6% of FEMA’s disaster relief funds to pre-disaster mitigation. Brock Long, a FEMA administrator, underlined the need for building codes emphasizing these preventative measures on a state and local level, as well as reforming the National Flood Insurance Program, and reinstating flood risk standards.
A positive development from Hurricanes Florence and Michael this year was the survey that found many homes were found to be intact during these storms because of low-cost reinforcements. And because this proves to be much less expensive than repairs or rebuilding, highlights the need to be proactive in mitigating disasters by federal, state and local communities.