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Hazard Mitigation Program Quells Ivan's Wrath

ANSONIA PLACE, PA - Prior to 1998, Ansonia Place was a quiet creek-side community Region Iclose to downtown Pittsburgh. It was home to 22 single-family structures and an apartment building.

After the area was badly flooded in January 1996, the homeowners decided to participate in a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program project that eventually acquired and demolished all the structures, including the apartment building. That decision turned out to be the right one, as the events of September 18, 2004, showed.

Tropical Storm Ivan soaked the Pittsburgh region with at least eight inches of rain. According to Ray DeMichiei, Deputy Director of the Pittsburgh Emergency Management Agency, the entire length of Pennsylvania Route 51 had to be closed from the Liberty Tunel to the City line.

The homes in Ansonia Place, which sits just off Route 51, would probably have suffered first-floor flood damage had they not have been removed. Such flooding would have placed residents and first responders in harm's way and could have resulted in a number of deaths.

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides grants to States and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

Last updated Jun 3, 2020