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Author: Stephanie Boswell
Like many living in the Baton Rouge area, life-long Denham Springs resident Sherri Gill’s home had never flooded until August 2016. Rising water forced Gill and her family to evacuate to her brother’s home, and for an extended period of time, 27 people, 13 dogs and two cats lived in a three bedroom, two bath house. With no flood insurance the only option for the Gill family was to rebuild on their own – a job that quickly presented many challenges. “My brother and husband framed up the house and put up the roof, but my husband, Ken, fell off a ladder and...
Posted On: April 18, 2018
Author: Laura Duff
Before the first shovel hits the ground, any major public investment needs solid footing. Just ask local officials in Austin, Minnesota, where the groundwork for the city’s successful Flood Mitigation Program was laid decades ago.In this southern Minnesota community of 25,000 people, 2004 marked a turning point. That was the year a September storm caused the Cedar River to crest 10 feet above flood stage and damage costs surpassed $13 million. The floodwaters damaged more than 400 homes and affected more than 60 businesses, including a food manufacturing plant that employed nearly 2,000...
Posted On: March 27, 2018
Author: Brock Long
Today I released FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan, not just to guide FEMA as an Agency as we lead the way to a more resilient nation, but to serve as a strategy and an anchor for the whole community.We cannot accomplish this by simply improving and expanding our programs and processes. We, as nation, must address some fundamental, cultural issues in order to become resilient. Resiliency is more than just strengthening our buildings and other infrastructure, it’s making sure that our citizens have the proper tools and skill sets to reduce the impact of future disasters.This isn...
Posted On: March 15, 2018
Author: Kirsten Roth
If there is one thing FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Branch Chiefs Karen Helbrecht, Michael Hillenburg and Anna Pudlo have in common, it’s their desire to build stronger communities through disaster preparedness and resilience collaboration.All three joined FEMA nearly 30 years ago, shortly after the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act was amended in 1988 to include funding for hazard mitigation.Initially, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program had funds appropriated from Congress with a budget of $200,000 that was used to educate communities on how...
Posted On: March 15, 2018
Author: Gelin Gil Roman
View in FEMA Multimedia LibraryWhen drivers from Estes trucking arrived in Puerto Rico, little did they know the disaster would change their lives. As if delivering life-saving commodities to devastated communities wasn’t hard enough, the team came face to face with a totally unexpected challenge: bringing hope and a sense of normality to displaced children.After witnessing the destruction left by Hurricane María, something inspired the crewmembers to go beyond their logistics assignments. Asking around for additional ways to help survivors, they learned that several children’s...
Posted On: March 9, 2018
Author: Renita Hosler
This year marks the 30-year anniversary since the Robert T. Stafford Act was amended to include funding for hazard mitigation grants as a way to help communities recover and rebuild after a Presidentially-declared disaster. In the last three decades, FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs have expanded to three mitigation grant programs for pre-and post-disaster events and recently surpassed $15 billion in funding provided for state, local, tribal and territorial mitigation projects.  Communities across the nation are now more resilient, and that growth continues.  Over...
Posted On: March 6, 2018
Author: Gelin Gil Roman
View in FEMA Multimedia LibraryAs Carmen Delgado hammers vigorously to knock down a wall, her brother José E. Delgado shovels and mixes concrete, while their father Don José Delgado works alongside to repair their two homes in the city’s Hato Abajo neighborhood. Their homes were severely damaged when Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico last September.“This young man,” said Carmen, pointing to her dad, “taught us that we can’t just sit and wait, but that we must get started and welcome whatever comes next.”Already equipped with the natural resiliency...
Posted On: February 23, 2018
Author: Jacob Vawter
FEMA’s partnerships are critical to executing our mission before, during, and after a disaster. During the response to hurricanes Irma and Maria, the contributions of the Danish Emergency Management Agency in the U.S. Virgin Islands highlighted the potential of international partnerships in disaster response and recovery.From early October through mid-December, Danish Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) staff supported the official hurricane response in the U.S. Virgin Islands.The Danish team performed reconstruction work on more than 30 healthcare and educational facilities across the...
Posted On: February 16, 2018
Author: Jessica Stapf
What lies beneath the ashes of any wildfire-torn community? Stories. The stories of heirlooms destroyed. Families lost and displaced. The sadness and hopelessness we all would expect when everything is lost. When black soot is all you can see and smell, with the remnants of what once was a kitchen crumbling beneath your sneakers. What else lies beneath those ashes? Hope. Resilience. Community pride.Over the course of the last year, many communities have been faced with the ashes and destruction left behind by savage wildfires. But, in the face of these adversities, communities have come...
Posted On: January 31, 2018
Author: Daniel Kaniewski, PhD
Major disasters persistently test our nation’s capacity to recover and adapt. As the 2017 calendar year came to a close, more than 25 million Americans (nearly 8 percent of the U.S. population) had been affected by unprecedented disasters.  The range of disasters from flooding, hurricanes or wildfires and the significant losses didn’t affect just one person or one family, the impact of these events is felt by us all.More than anything else, 2017 highlighted the need for the nation to change the way we prepare for and mitigate against future hazards. We need to change the way...
Posted On: January 11, 2018