A report by Rice Univesity's Kinder Institute for Urban Research suggests it's time local governments rethink disaster recovery and flood mitigation in the wake of Harvey.
Dr. Kyle Shelton, director of strategic partnerships, says as long as federal money pours in after a disaster, local governments are slow to take proactive measures to prevent it from happening again.
“We usually build back to a similar standard or build back to what we had before rather than thinking how could we build back better? What are ways we could put mitigation practices into place right now using money ahead of the next storm to save us money on the back end?”
“What portion of our general operating funds are we putting toward these types of contingencies? What types of state-level funding are we putting toward these contingencies? Things akin to the Rainy Day fund could be created for disaster preparation,” he says.
The report outlines regional disaster funding, improving building designs and supporting small businesses through easier access to disaster funding.
“Let's say there are 300,000 vulnerable people right now, if we're able to reduce that to 200,000 or even lower then emergency responders and resources and all of the things that happen after recovery can really begin to target in on those people who will be affected,” says Shelton.
View the report here.