Agricultural Disaster Assistance

Agricultural Disaster Assistance. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Megan Stubbs. July 26, 2018

 The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers several programs to help farmers recover financially from natural disasters, including drought and floods. All the programs have permanent authorization, and only one requires a federal disaster designation (the emergency loan program). Most programs receive mandatory funding amounts that are “such sums as necessary” and are not subject to annual discretionary appropriations. 

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Vulnerable Communities Are Using Innovative Financing to Prepare for Natural Disasters

Vulnerable Communities Are Using Innovative Financing to Prepare for Natural Disasters. Pew Charitable Trusts. Laura Lightbody . November 30, 2016.

Billion-dollar natural disasters used to strike the United States once or twice a year. But since 1980, such events have occurred five to 10 times annually. These catastrophes threaten public safety, disrupt daily activities, and lead to economic losses. In October, Hurricane Matthew left at least 24 dead and caused $6 billion in insured property loss when it hit the southeastern United States. As the numbers and costs continue to climb, homeowners, communities, and the federal government will be challenged to make wise financial investments that will help save lives and lower the costs of future storms. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP): Issues in Brief. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Peter Folger. April 19, 2016.

Under the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP), four federal agencies have responsibility for long–term earthquake risk reduction: the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). These agencies assess U.S. earthquake hazards, deliver notifications of seismic events, develop measures to reduce earthquake hazards, and conduct research to help reduce overall U.S. vulnerability to earthquakes. Congressional oversight of the NEHRP program encompasses how well the four agencies coordinate their activities to address the earthquake hazard. Better coordination was a concern that led to changes to the program in legislation enacted in 2004 (the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program Reauthorization Act of 2004; P.L. 108–360).

[PDF format, 9 pages, 655.9 KB].

Wildfires in the United States: A Primer

Wildfires in the United States: A Primer. Urban Institute. Vera Brusentsev and Wayne Vroman. January 28, 2016.

The report examines recent wildfires in the United States, summarizing their frequency, trends, and costs. It documents the increase in large wildfires and shows their concentration in western states. Cost and budget issues linked to wildfires are also examined. The report recommends ways to reduce the frequency and costs of wildfires along with measures to enhance the resilience of local communities to wildfires. Also noted is a misalignment of incentives in current wildfire policy. Local governments make most of the decisions that influence the cost of wildfires, but the federal government incurs most of the costs for preventing and suppressing wildfires. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 22 pages, 465.47 KB].

Lessons from the Storm

Lessons from the Storm. Center for American Progress. Danielle Baussan and Miranda Peterson. October 28, 2015.

The rise of extreme weather is spurring cities to develop climate resilience plans, but it takes more than hard infrastructure improvements to thrive after an extreme weather event, according to the report. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 27 pages, 925.3 KB].

When You Can’t Go Home: The Gulf Coast 10 Years After Katrina

When You Can’t Go Home: The Gulf Coast 10 Years After Katrina. Center for American Progress. Danielle Baussan. August 18, 2015.

Although nearly a decade has passed since Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc across the U.S. Gulf Coast, signs of its fury are still clearly visible. Nothing speaks more directly to Katrina’s destructive power than the tens of thousands of rotted, weed-choked vacant buildings—some still branded with the crosses painted on their exteriors by search and rescue teams from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA—that dot the Gulf Coast. These abandoned houses are a stark reminder of residents who struggled and yet failed to return home. In the 10 years that have passed, many of these former residents are part of an underreported but growing population of the domestic climate displaced. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 10 pages, 117.08 KB].

Nepal Earthquake: Prelude to Bigger Disaster?

Nepal Earthquake: Prelude to Bigger Disaster? YaleGlobal. Alark Saxena. June 2, 2015.

A 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal on April 25, killing 8,800, injuring thousands more and leaving many homeless. The quake and series of aftershocks also left property damage and devastated communities. International relief agencies rushed to the scene, but researchers warn that such disasters are inevitable for the entire Hindu Kush Himalayan region with the continuous sinking of the Indian tectonic plate below the Eurasian plate. Alark Saxena explains why Nepal and other countries are highly vulnerable to earthquakes and urges a long-term focus on preparation. Poverty, weak governance and uncontrolled urbanization increase the region’s vulnerability. Costly rescue operations grab headlines, but governments, NGOs, donors and the media must focus on strategies for long-term preparation. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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