A new law signed by President Biden on Dec. 20, 2022— the Community Disaster Resilience Zones Act—will build disaster resilience across the nation by creating and designating resilience zones which identifies disadvantaged communities most at-risk to natural hazards.
This new law amends the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Recovery and Emergency Act and applies FEMA’s National Risk Index to identify communities that are most vulnerable to natural hazards.
These designated zones will receive targeted support to access federal funding to plan for resilience projects that will help them reduce impacts caused by climate change and natural hazards. It will also enable communities to work across a range of federal and private sector partners to maximize funding and provide technical assistance, strengthening community resilience.
Designated zones will receive targeted federal support, such as increased federal cost-share for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities program, lessening the financial burden on communities to perform resilience-related activities.
The text of the law can be viewed on Congress.gov.
National Risk Index
FEMA’s National Risk Index is an online mapping tool that identifies communities most at risk to 18 natural hazards and provides communities with standardized natural hazard risk data.
FEMA will update and use the National Risk Index to identify what communities are most in need of assistance for resilience-related projects. This process also enables FEMA to better coordinate across the federal government and the private sector to integrate investments in identified zones.
Using the Risk Index to identify the nation’s most vulnerable areas will help ensure communities will be more resilient to the risks of today and growing risks of tomorrow.
Access the National Risk Index
The Future of Community Disaster Resilience Zones
FEMA is responsible for designating community disaster resilience zones in each state based on the highest individual hazard risk ratings and maintaining a geographic balance for the zones. The zones represent areas with the highest natural hazard risk and a relatively lower ability to withstand their impacts.
These zones are expected to be identified later in 2023. They will hold the designation as Community Disaster Resilience Zones for five years.
FEMA will engage with state, local, tribal and territorial emergency management partners to identify how the designation of the zones can benefit these government entities. A public comment period is planned and will be announced in spring 2023.
For more information on the use of the National Risk Index, email FEMA-NRI@fema.dhs.gov.