U.S. Commerce Secretary Daley and FEMA Director Witt Announce Release of Assessment of the Economic Impact of Hurricane Floyd on North Carolina Communities

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Release date: 
May 8, 2000
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Washington, D.C. May 8, 2000 -- U.S. Commerce Secretary William M. Daley and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director James Lee Witt today announced the release of an assessment of the economic effects of Hurricane Floyd on North Carolina communities. The assessment was completed by the Commerce Department's Economic Development Administration (EDA) at the request of FEMA.

The assessment provides recommendations for businesses and state and community officials on how to accelerate the business recovery process and create disaster-resistant businesses and jobs through the recovery process. The report also recommends the continued development of a database to assess economic impacts of disasters in the United States.

The assessment's recommendations focus on two key messages," Daley said. "First, it is critical for the business community and government at the local, state and federal levels to establish a partnership to restore and reinvigorate the economy of the affected area as soon as possible, and, second, a disaster such as Hurricane Floyd provides an opportunity for the business community to build back stronger and better by incorporating economic and physical disaster mitigation," Daley said.

"When disaster strikes, any business may be affected - from mom-and pop stores to multibillion dollar corporations. The impact on the community is often severe," said FEMA Director Witt. "But there are steps to take ahead of time to limit or prevent damage. That is the focus of FEMA's Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities."

The assessment found the following fundamental steps should be taken to speed the recovery of sustainable business enterprises:

  • Communities should initiate along-range strategic planning process that includes relocating critical facilities, vulnerable structures and unsafe land use activities out of the floodplain. To the extent these actions can be accomplished in conjunction with the rebuilding process, the community can recover and grow in a more disaster-resistant, livable and sustainable manner.

  • The state should move forward with efforts to establish and implement a comprehensive Disaster Recovery Program within the Governor's office.

  • FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) state coordinator should examine the reason for the low participation in the NFIP and take appropriate steps to improve participation.

The assessment documents the results of field appraisals, individual interviews, a survey of impacted businesses (the Business Impact Survey) and analyses that were conducted shortly after Hurricane Floyd.

The assessment was performed by a team consisting of representatives from EDA, local academic institutions, Economic Development Commissions throughout the impacted areas and FEMA, with close coordination from the state of North Carolina.

Because the affected area was so widespread, the team, following careful review of damage reports received by FEMA, decided to focus on the 44 most impacted counties. The assessment is divided into non-agricultural and agricultural business sectors because of the physical and operational differences between the two sectors.

The complete assessment may be accessed via the World Wide Web at: www.fema.gov/library/respandrecov.shtm

EDA works to generate jobs, help retain existing jobs and stimulate industrial and commercial growth in economically-distressed communities. EDA assistance is available to rural and urban areas of the nation experiencing high unemployment, low income or other severe economic distress.

FEMA is the federal agency responsible for preparedness, response, recovery and disaster mitigation activities. The two government agencies worked together to help Oklahoma City and su...

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