US: Study: FEMA Flood Buyouts Favor the Wealthy - PressFrom - US
  •   
  •   
  •   

US Study: FEMA Flood Buyouts Favor the Wealthy

01:25  10 october  2019
01:25  10 october  2019 Source:   usnews.com

'America, we need your help:' US community slammed by Dorian pleads for declaration of a major disaster

  'America, we need your help:' US community slammed by Dorian pleads for declaration of a major disaster Nearly a month after Hurricane Dorian tracked over the Outer Banks of North Carolina, cutting off Ocracoke Island, the destruction to the island has not been declared a federal disaster. A pre-hurricane emergency declaration was issued and approved before Dorian hit the island, but that remains the only request signed by President Donald Trump as of Oct. 1. To date, two other requests for aid from FEMA remain under review for areas across North Carolina damaged by the hurricane. "Neighbors help neighbors, and newcomers who stay live by the motto of the native Ocracokers: We don't ask for help, we give help. But that has changed.

Since 1989, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has bought and demolished more than 43,000 homes in flood -prone areas, a strategy meant to make communities less vulnerable The data show that buyouts were disproportionately concentrated in wealthy and densely populated counties.

Since the 1980s, the Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) has funded over 43,000 buyouts , in which local or state governments purchase flood -damaged properties from willing sellers at pre- flood values and preserve the land as open space.

Federal buyouts for properties that face flooding are typically going to wealthier communities, according to a new study.

a house next to a body of water: GRAFTON, IL - JUNE 7: Flooding from the Mississippi River inundates a neighborhood on June 7, 2019 in Grafton, Illinois. Residents along Mississippi river are bracing for the expected arrival of the crest at near record levels on Friday. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)© Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images GRAFTON, IL - JUNE 7: Flooding from the Mississippi River inundates a neighborhood on June 7, 2019 in Grafton, Illinois. Residents along Mississippi river are bracing for the expected arrival of the crest at near record levels on Friday. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

The buyouts are part of a strategy known as "managed retreat," which involves abandoning flood-prone areas in favor of higher ground. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers voluntary buyouts to properties affected by flooding, paying for 75% of the costs while the states or local governments that opt into the program cover the remaining 25%. Once purchased, the property is torn down and turned into open space.

Six killed as typhoon Mitag sweeps parts of South Korea

  Six killed as typhoon Mitag sweeps parts of South Korea Six killed as typhoon Mitag sweeps parts of South KoreaMitag, the 18th typhoon this year, brought heavy rains in southern parts of the country. As of 0130 GMT, the toll was six dead and four injured, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.

Fire department crews use a boat to rescue residents in the area of Minnesota Avenue and W. Lotta Street. Shelly Conlon, Argus Leader.

Find out how to start a flood claim today. Hurricane Dorian. Listen to this week's episode of the FEMA Podcast, we sit down with a few members of the FEMA team to discuss youth preparedness and important roles children can play in creating a systematic shift in the culture of preparedness.

"No matter how difficult managed retreat sounds, we know that there are thousands of communities in the United States, all over the country who have made it work," A.R. Siders of the University of Delaware said in a call with reporters on Tuesday.

But a new study from Siders and other researchers published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances found that these buyouts are typically going to wealthier and more densely-populated counties, which may not be the areas that need them the most.

Their analysis looked at over 40,000 voluntary buyouts from 1989 to 2017. It found that while the federal buyouts are more likely in richer counties, the neighborhoods within those counties where the homes are purchased tend to have lower incomes.

Warren unveils a $1 trillion environmental justice plan for low-income communities

  Warren unveils a $1 trillion environmental justice plan for low-income communities The plan would defend low-income and minority communities against pollution, contamination and extreme weather events that are exacerbated by climate change. The plan calls for spending at least $1 trillion in the next decade on the country's most vulnerable communities, who are often concentrated in highly polluted areas and exposed to contamination from lead and other toxic chemicals from industrial and agricultural run-off.

A Flood Insurance Study (FIS) is a compilation and presentation of flood risk data for specific watercourses, lakes, and coastal flood hazard areas within a community. When a flood study is completed for the NFIP, the information and maps are assembled into an FIS. The FIS report contains

FEMA Bought 44,000 Flood -Prone Homes. They May Have to Buy Millions More. Under the FEMA program, most buyouts have occurred in counties with higher incomes, education, populations and population density, according to the new analysis—places where homeowners are more likely to

This could reflect the fact that better-off neighborhoods are more likely to be insured and more likely to rebuild after each disaster instead of taking the buyout, according to Alex de Sherbinin of Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network, who was not involved in the research.

"On one hand you could say they're more resilient, but on the other, they're effectively shielded from the sort of difficult decisions that's required of some homeowners to uproot and leave a neighborhood that they may like for many other reasons but had become increasingly untenable," de Sherbinin says.

According to Siders, the communities getting buyouts likely aren't the places that need them the most, like the rural, lower income areas that might not have the resources to meet the required 25% match.

Local governments apply to the FEMA program on behalf of the residents. So if they don't have adequate resources to put toward the process, "that means that you are going to have people who are trapped in at-risk places," Siders says.

More than 1,600 die in India's heaviest monsoon season for 25 years

  More than 1,600 die in India's heaviest monsoon season for 25 years The heaviest monsoon rains to lash India in 25 years have killed more than 1,600 people since June, government data showed on Tuesday, as authorities battled floods in two northern states and muddy waters swirled inside a major city. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.getMedianetNativeAds(true); }); The monsoon, which typically lasts between June and September, has already delivered 10% more rain than a 50-year average, and is expected to withdraw only after early October, more than a month later than usual.

Currently, FEMA -sponsored buyouts are only offered in the aftermath of a flood and can take years to complete. This is a huge deterrent, especially for FEMA and the state may decide to use post-disaster assistance to buy out properties that were damaged. Homeowners can apply to have their

FEMA has approved money to buy out properties in flood -prone areas of northeast and central Pennsylvania. This is the first round of buyouts by FEMA in our area. Twenty-two properties in Bradford,Columbia, Luzerne, Lycoming, Schuylkill, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties are included

"The reality is that managed retreat is likely to accentuate many of these inequalities in the future because who gets assistance and who doesn't is going to be a political process," and those who have the resources and clout will get more attention, de Sherbinin says.

For FEMA, these buyouts are probably seen as a small slice of the pie in terms of their mitigation efforts, which include large infrastructure projects like levees, says study author Katharine Mach of the University of Miami.

The agency left more than half of some buyout entries blank, which the authors said hurt their ability to fully evaluate the program.

Larry Larson of the Association of State Floodplain Managers, who was not involved in the research, said one major problem with the program is wait times, which can take up to five years.

"If my house is really damaged, I can't live without a house for five years while I find out if I'm accepted or not," Larson says.

He adds that the program also has a patchwork problem. Because it is voluntary, some homeowners may sell while others will stay, creating a mix of homes and open lots. In that case, the buyout is helpful to individuals, but not necessarily the community, which still has to provide infrastructure and maintenance services, Larson says.

“FEMA has not had the opportunity to fully review the research and thoughts expressed in this report,” David Maurstad, FEMA’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation, said in a statement. He added that FEMA does not choose what properties participate in the buyouts and that the program is not meant to address economic inequalities.

Copyright 2019 U.S. News & World Report

Swiss glaciers shrink 10 percent in five years: study .
Switzerland's glaciers have lost a tenth of their volume in the past five years alone -- a melting rate unmatched during observations stretching back more than a century, a study showed Tuesday. Measurements on 20 Swiss glaciers have shown that melt rates this year have reached "record levels", according to the annual study on the state of the glaciers, published by the Cryospheric Commission at the Swiss Academy of Sciences.

—   Share news in the SOC. Networks

Topical videos:

usr: 4
This is interesting!