SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Joining a select list of American communities, the City and County of Honolulu has been included by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in its "Project Impact" initiative.
Project Impact is a partnership-based, nationwide effort begun by FEMA in 1997 to help communities lessen the risk of disasters. Partners now include approximately 200 communities (including the Big Island, Kauai, and Maui) and 2,500 business owners nationwide.
"We're pleased that Honolulu is now part of a locally focused program aimed at reducing the devastation and terrible human costs associated with disasters," said Martha Whetstone, Regional Director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "Honolulu's location and population size make it extremely vulnerable to a variety of hazards."
Honolulu has been proactive in anti-disaster projects, such as its aggressive community preparedness and retrofitting programs, even before joining Project Impact.
"Honolulu is a very welcome addition to Project Impact," said Martha Whetstone, Regional Director of FEMA Region IX in San Francisco. "Prevention works. Project Impact will help the city's residents, business owners, and municipal officials shift their focus from simply responding to disasters to taking advance action."
Instead of waiting for disasters to strike, Project Impact communities - through public-private partnerships - initiate mentoring, public outreach, and mitigation projects. Preventative strategies have included revising local building and land use codes and passing necessary bond measures. Corporate and community partners assist with money, in-kind services, technical support and labor for projects. FEMA provides technical, administrative and financial support.
In the past 10 years, FEMA has spent more than $25 billion to help repair and reconstruct buildings and infrastructure in disaster-stricken areas. Project Impact's goal is to erase the ceaseless damage-repair-damage cycle through preventive measures, before trouble strikes.