Homeland Security and Emergency Services

ASFPM Releases Hurricane Sandy Recovery Actions

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) released a paper outlining 23 suggested actions that communities, property owners, states, and the federal policy and funding decision makers can take to support a more resilient recovery and rebuilding following Hurricane Sandy.  These actions would lead to less damage and suffering in future events, resulting in more resilient communities and reduced federal taxpayer costs. Communities must rebuild in a way that will reduce vulnerability to flooding, hurricanes and other large storms in the future in order to avoid the human suffering and economic disruption that follows. Everyone knows that large events like Hurricane Sandy and Irene WILL happen again.

While the Hurricane Sandy damage throughout the Atlantic Region, New York, and New Jersey coasts and cities is one of the worst the region has suffered, similar large events, and the increasing likelihood of similar future events, should teach valuable lessons that everyone must consider in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  There is a need to take this disaster and use it as an opportunity to avoid the next one, not to rebuild in a way that will ensure another disaster, or just have less damage and disruption next time.  All of us should react to this disaster in a different way than in the past.  The rules need to change or mistakes will keep repeating, proving yet again that the lessons of the past have not been learned.

In the devastating aftermath of a significant event like Sandy, there also exists a window of opportunity for communities and property owners to make wise redevelopment choices that will help support the economic and social vitality for generations to come.  While such choices can be politically unpopular in the short term when the focus is to get back to normal, choosing a better path now can lead to reduced misery, suffering, and hardship for families and businesses alike.  It is much harder during a “sunny day”, or after the event has been forgotten, to make needed changes than it is right now when people are faced with the consequences of the storm and more receptive to significant, although sometimes disruptive actions that can result in effective mitigation. 

The President has just submitted a Supplemental $60.4 billion funding request to Congress that provides monies for various agencies and programs to assist the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.  ASFPM is providing comments to the Administration and Congress on the supplemental funding.  They have issued a press release on Dec 12 responding to the President’s request for the supplemental funding titled: “Hurricane Sandy aid should support resilient recovery”.  In that release, ASFPM Executive Director said: “Reconstruction of homes, businesses, and infrastructure is already underway and will continue throughout 2013 with a lot of public support.”   “It would be a huge waste of federal dollars to just rebuild everything as it was before.  Mitigation is about rebuilding in locations and ways that reduce the costs and economic disruption from future storms.”

ASFPM is encouraging their readers to give them feedback on these papers and ideas for the Hurricane Sandy recovery and rebuilding.  This process will go for a long period of time, and your suggestions can help their continued input to the process. Please send comments to diane@floods.org