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Idea of the Day: How We Can Help Communities Hit by Extreme Weather

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The tragic and devastating superstorm Sandy is only the latest in a long list of extreme weather events that have devastated the United States in recent years. In the past two years alone, we suffered from at least 21 floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and severe storms that each caused at least $1 billion in damages. These events took at least 1,021 lives and caused up to $174 billion in total damages.

Many scientists believe that extreme weather events will grow in frequency and/or severity over the coming decades due to climate change. Yet our communities remain vulnerable to them, putting our citizens and our economy at risk. Middle- and lower-income households are frequently affected by these events at disproportionate rates.

To help communities reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather, we propose the creation of a “community resilience fund,” dedicated solely to providing financial and technical assistance to vulnerable communities hit by extreme weather events. With Congress about to debate funding for disaster relief for the states most affected by Sandy, it may be even harder to convince some members of Congress to support revenue to reduce damages from future storms and other extreme weather events. We therefore urge President Barack Obama to appoint a bipartisan, blue-ribbon panel to design this dedicated fund and to identify and recommend ways to pay for it.

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To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education, poverty)
202.478.6331 or apreiss@americanprogress.org

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, health care, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or tcaiazza@americanprogress.org

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues, Legal Progress, Half in Ten Education Fund)
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Tanya Arditi
202.741.6258 or tarditi@americanprogress.org

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or rrosen@americanprogress.org

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or ckiene@americanprogress.org

 

This is part of a regular column: Idea of the Day

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