flood

House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passes a series of disaster aid bills

Paricutín Volcano

Several disaster aid bills, including the Post-Disaster Assistance Online Accountability Act (H.R. 1307), Disclosing Aid Spent to Ensure Relief (DISASTER) Act (H.R. 1984), Federal Disaster Assistance Coordination Act (H.R. 1306), and H.R. 1311, were introduced in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee beginning on February 15. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has also approved the National Public Infrastructure Pre-Disaster Hazard Mitigation fund, which will provide between $400 million and $600 million per year in grants for infrastructure investments in states that are most threatened by hurricanes, flooding, and other natural disasters.

House committee holds hearing on reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program

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On March 13, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). NFIP was last reauthorized by Congress on December 21, 2018, authorizing the program through May 31, 2019. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NFIP reauthorization gives Congress the chance to simplify this program and strengthen it financially so that it can effectively help individuals and communities to secure flood insurance.

Congress introduces legislation to enhance flood mapping

Atlantic waves

On April 18, congressional members from Illinois, Florida, Maryland, and Texas introduced a bipartisan, bicameral initiative to enhance the mapping of urban flood hazard zones. In addition, Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR-1) introduced the Scientific Flood Mapping Act (H.R.5559), which would transfer functions related to the preparation of flood maps from FEMA to the USGS due to concerns regarding FEMA’s flood map oversight and management.

Planning for Coastal Storm and Erosion Hazards

Coastal hazards are a widespread challenge that cost millions (and sometimes billions) of dollars in the U.S. every year due to property loss and spending on mitigation measures. Based on the most recent U.S. Census, over 39% of the U.S. population lives in areas that may undergo significant coastal flooding during a 100-year flood event. Additionally, six of the ten most expensive weather-related disasters in U.S. history have been caused by coastal storms.

Assessing, Mitigating, and Communicating Flood Risk

Flooding is a perennial hazard for rivers and coasts alike. Every year, flooding results in billions of dollars of damage and the loss of dozens to hundreds of lives across the United States. Efforts to mitigate this hazard rely on the work of geoscientists, planners, and communicators to assess and minimize risks, prepare and inform communities, and ensure that lives and livelihoods are prioritized before, during, and after flood events.

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