Center for American Progress

Disaster Aid Following Hurricanes Must Do More to Help Communities Prepare for Extreme Weather, New CAP Report Says
Press Release

Disaster Aid Following Hurricanes Must Do More to Help Communities Prepare for Extreme Weather, New CAP Report Says

Washington, D.C. — In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, a new report from the Center for American Progress is urging Congress not only to provide the immediate emergency aid that disaster-affected areas desperately need but also to focus on creating long-term resilience to extreme weather and supporting communities with the fewest resources to rebuild.

The report is being released on the same day that former Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate appears at CAP to deliver remarks on extreme weather recovery and the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy.

Disasters offer rare opportunities to create new and equitable policies and incentives to make communities stronger for decades to come. As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, failure to take steps now will only endanger lives and property in the future, the report says.

The report notes that preparing for more extreme weather helps save taxpayer money, since every $1 spent on mitigation measures ahead of a disaster saves $4 down the road. The alternative is continuing down a business-as-usual path of poorly designed infrastructure, homes, and industrial plants in flood-prone areas that will require repeated, costly repair or rebuilding.

The report urges lawmakers to heed the lessons of past disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, by considering four priorities in their response:

  • Support aid programs that help communities rebuild safer and stronger infrastructure that can withstand more extreme weather.
  • Update flood risk data and use them to make sure infrastructure is built to withstand more frequent floods.
  • Prioritize communities that have the fewest resources to rebuild.
  • Plan ahead to lower the risks and costs of the next disaster.

Read “Safe, Strong and Just Rebuilding After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria: A Policy Road Map for Congress” by Cathleen Kelly, Kristina Costa, and Sarah Edelman.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Sam Hananel at [email protected] or 202.478.6327.