WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On the first anniversary of the Hurricane Floyd disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of North Carolina today announced an historic agreement to develop a model program to maintain accurate, up-to-date flood hazard information for the state. This first in the nation agreement is designed to reduce risks from future floods and build safer communities.
FEMA Director James Lee Witt and Governor Jim Hunt signed the agreement in the Old House Chamber of the North Carolina Capitol. The agreement calls for updating and digitizing the data for new flood hazard maps and the establishment of a Cooperating Technical State Committee made up of representatives from the state, participating communities, FEMA, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government and 15 federal agencies. More than a dozen senior federal agency representatives, along with state and local counterparts, attended the signing ceremony.
The partnership agreement is the first agreement in the nation that is designed to improve coordination and cooperation between all relevant agencies and communities by sharing technical abilities and resources that already exist.
In signing the agreement, Governor Hunt said, "This is an important part of our state's commitment to learn from our experiences. I have seen first-hand what can happen if our citizens don't have up-to-date floodplain maps and we are committed to giving them the tools, like these maps, to help prevent the kind of devastation we experienced with the floods after Hurricane Floyd."
"I want to compliment Governor Hunt for aggressively supporting this initiative to reduce future flood losses," Witt said. "Identifying and mapping flood hazards are a critical step to preventing future flood events like Hurricane Floyd brought to the state a year ago."
The National Partnership for Reinventing Government acted as a catalyst in expanding federal cooperation in support for this groundbreaking North Carolina initiative. The Washington, D.C. national partnership is an interagency task force that looks for ways to make government work better and cost less.
The intergovernmental mapping committee will tap into existing federal, state and local expertise and resources, review and approve the overall direction of the flood hazard mapping initiative, review and approve products and services, and provide feedback on issues associated with the project.
Updated maps will allow local communities to more effectively manage their floodplains, reducing the potential risk to families, homes and businesses. North Carolina also plans to make the updated maps available to the public through the Internet.
The State of North Carolina has set aside $23 million for the project and FEMA is providing approximately $6 million, for a total $29 million. It is anticipated that additional technical support, data and funds will be identified within other federal agencies in support of this initiative.