Friday, February 17, 2012

Breaking the repetitive disaster damage scenario

A little happy talk from Federal Emergency Management Administration, but it's still a good idea: Of the more than $200 million the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is expected to reimburse the commonwealth for infrastructure damage from Irene and Lee, more than $30 million of that will be used to rebuild infrastructure to a higher standard.

The work is known as mitigation - an effort to break the cycle of damage and repair and reduce repetitive losses. FEMA's Public Assistance (PA) program helps fund local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for eligible disaster-related costs for debris removal, emergency protective measures and repair or restoration of public infrastructure.

FEMA provides 75 percent of the mitigation grant funding. The commonwealth's share of eligible project costs is 22 percent; the remaining three percent is paid for by the applicant. The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) administers the program and allocates the funds.

Generally, the PA program restores disaster damaged infrastructure to pre-disaster conditions. However, where it is cost effective and technically feasible, additional funding can be approved to restore the facility to a higher standard and make it more disaster resistant....

Fifth & Liberty Streets in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the flood of 1907

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