KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The village of Elba, Neb., was recognized by U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the 20,000th participating community of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in a ceremony Thursday evening in Elba.
Elba is one of 340 NFIP participating communities in Nebraska. Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy and key staff from Nebraska's senate offices and Rep. Tom Osborne's office participated in the event.
Michael Buckley, acting deputy director for FEMA's Mitigation Division, praised Elba's leadership during the ceremony.
"This voluntary program enables property owners in Elba to purchase flood insurance as a protection against flood losses in exchange for implementing a community floodplain management program designed to reduce future flood damages," he said. "Even though Elba is located mostly outside of the 100-year floodplain, the NFIP has paid one-quarter of its claims in the past 25 years to cover flood losses to those homes in moderate to minimal flood risk zones."
"The state of Nebraska is proud of Elba for taking this step to participate in the NFIP," said Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy. "We have 340 participating NFIP communities across the state, which is certainly a testament to our belief in the importance of regulated floodplain management. Our staffs have worked hand in hand with FEMA on this important issue. This evening's event symbolizes that partnership."
FEMA Regional Director Richard Hainje echoed Sheehy's praise of the relationship between state and FEMA in regard to the NFIP.
"As a result of this (partnership), there are 13,525 flood insurance policies in force in the state," Hainje said. "These policies are worth more than $1.5 billion dollars in insurance coverage for flood risks.
"Equally important has been the state's efforts with regard to flood hazard mapping," Hainje said. "The state has been very proactive and creative in partnering with FEMA to create flood hazard maps through FEMA's Cooperating Technical Partner program."
Established in 1968, the NFIP revolutionized almost non-existent programs of regulated floodplain development. Approximately three million buildings have been constructed throughout the nation in accordance with these floodplain management regulations. More than $1.1 billion in flood damages is prevented annually. Structures built to NFIP criteria experience 80 percent less damage through reduced frequency and severity of losses.
The NFIP is administered by FEMA. On March 1, 2003, FEMA became a part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.