For state, parish and local governments recovering from the late October and early November Louisiana floods, repairing public buildings, damaged roads, and infrastructure by reducing or mitigating the impact of future flood events makes sense.
The presidential disaster declaration of December 10, 2009, opened the door for Federal Public Assistance including state and federal cost-sharing mitigation funding in disaster-affected parishes. FEMA’s Public Assistance Coordinators work with state and local officials to identify and develop cost-effective mitigation projects designed to provide the security, strength, and sustainability necessary for communities to plan and prepare for a better and safer tomorrow.
The flooding severely damaged roads and bridges in 11 parishes. A few examples of mitigation practices that could make a difference in preventing damage during a future flood event include:
* Increasing the capacity of the roadway ditch by increasing its depth and/or width;
* Stabilizing road shoulders and embankments;
* Increasing the efficiency of culverts such as adding wing walls to increase the flow capacity and reduce erosion;
* Elevating a bridge deck to a level sufficient to pass anticipated flood flows; and,
* Relocating an entire building out of an area subject to flooding, outside the floodplain.
"It is a proven fact that mitigation creates stronger communities and allows them to break the cycle of disaster damage, reconstruction, and repeated losses," said Federal Coordinating Officer Gerard M. Stolar. "And for every dollar we spend on preventive measures, an average of four dollars is saved."
Under the Stafford Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides mitigation grants for both disaster-related damage (section 406 Hazard Mitigation) during a presidentially declared disaster and for voluntary buyouts or elevation of flood-damaged property (section 404 Hazard Mitigation). The section 404 Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) includes competitive-based mitigation grants administered by the state of Louisiana.
More information on ways to mitigate can be found at www.fema.gov/mitigation. Here you can click on FEMA’s Best Practices Portfolio, which is a collection of ideas for activities and projects that can help reduce or prevent the impacts of future disasters.
FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards. For more recovery information, go to www.fema.gov.
The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) encourages all citizens to visit www.getagameplan.org for information on how to plan for, and stay safe in, all types of emergencies, including winter weather events.
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