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jerryking : relief_recovery_reconstruction   14

Flood. Rinse. Repeat: The costly cycle that must end
May 07, 2017 | The Globe and Mail |GLENN MCGILLIVRAY, managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Once again, homes located alongside a Canadian river have flooded, affected homeowners are shocked, the local government is wringing its hands, the respective provincial government is ramping up to provide taxpayer-funded disaster assistance and the feds are deploying the Armed Forces.

In Canada, it is the plot of the movie Groundhog Day, or the definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.....First, a homeowner locates next to the river, oftentimes because of the view (meaning a personal choice is being made). Many of these homes are of high value.

Then the snow melts, the ice jams or the rain falls and the flood comes. Often, as is the case now, the rain is characterized by the media as being incredible, far outside the norm. Then a scientific or engineering analysis later shows that what happened was not very exceptional.

These events are not caused by the rain, they are caused by poor land-use decisions, among other public-policy foibles. This is what is meant when some say there are no such things as natural catastrophes, only man-made disasters.

Finally, the province steps in with disaster assistance then seeks reimbursement from the federal government through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. In any case, whether provincial or federal, taxpayers are left holding the bag.....So what is the root of the problem? Though complex problems have complex causes and complex solutions, one of the causes is that the party making the initial decision to allow construction (usually the local government) is not the party left holding the bag when the flood comes.

Just as homeowners have skin in the game through insurance deductibles and other measures, local governments need a financial disincentive to act in a risky manner. At present, municipalities face far more upside risk than downside risk when it comes to approving building in high-risk hazard zones. When the bailout comes from elsewhere, there is no incentive to make the right decision – the lure of an increased tax base and the desire not to anger local voters is all too great.

Reducing natural disaster losses in Canada means breaking the cycle – taking a link out of the chain of events that leads to losses.

Local governments eager for growth and the tax revenue that goes with it need to hold some significant portion of the downside risk in order to give them pause for thought.
floods  catastrophes  natural_calamities  design  insurance  public_policy  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  sustainability  municipalities  skin_in_the_game  disincentives  Albert_Einstein  complex_problems  land_uses  moral_hazards  man-made  hazards  downside_risks 
may 2017 by jerryking
Shelters from the storm: Preparing cities for a changing climate – before it’s too late - The Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Jul. 17, 2015

Rising sea levels, epic droughts, massive flooding: the effects of climate change are already here. How do we adapt? From the Netherlands to Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Alex Bozikovic explores the cutting-edge engineering – and cultural shifts – that could help
New_York_City  climate_change  cities  Hurricane_Sandy  floods  future-proofing  insurance  public_policy  disasters  Dutch  relief_recovery_reconstruction  FEMA  sustainability  natural_calamities  sea-level_rise 
july 2015 by jerryking
As Coasts Rebuild and U.S. Pays, Repeatedly, the Critics Ask Why -
Published: November 18, 2012

Across the nation, tens of billions of tax dollars have been spent on subsidizing coastal reconstruction in the aftermath of storms, usually with little consideration of whether it actually makes sense to keep rebuilding in disaster-prone areas. If history is any guide, a large fraction of the federal money allotted to New York, New Jersey and other states recovering from Hurricane Sandy — an amount that could exceed $30 billion — will be used the same way.

Tax money will go toward putting things back as they were, essentially duplicating the vulnerability that existed before the hurricane.... Lately, scientists, budget-conscious lawmakers and advocacy groups across the political spectrum have argued that these subsidies waste money, put lives at risk and make no sense in an era of changing climate and rising seas.

Some of them contend that reconstruction money should be tightly coupled with requirements that coastal communities begin reducing their vulnerability in the short run and that towns along shorelines facing the largest risks make plans for withdrawal over the long term. ... local governments have tried to use the money to reduce their vulnerability to future disasters, but they complain that they often run into bureaucratic roadblocks with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

For instance, after flooding from Hurricane Irene washed out many culverts in Vermont last year, many towns built bigger culverts to handle future floods. But they are still fighting with the agency over reimbursement.

W. Craig Fugate, the agency’s administrator, acknowledged in an interview that “as a nation, we have not yet figured out” how to use federal incentives to improve resiliency and discourage excessive risks.
floods  floodplains  flood-risk  insurance  public_policy  Hurricane_Sandy  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  FEMA  sustainability  sea-level_rise  coastal 
november 2012 by jerryking
Special Delivery
September 2004 | Robb Report Worth | by Lynn Fritz, founder of Fritz Institute.

How does the aid get to where it is needed? Does it arrive complete? Where does the money come form?
logistics  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  Africa  high_net_worth  philanthropy 
june 2012 by jerryking
Chile's Rescue Formula: '75% Science, 25% Miracle' -
Chile  relief_recovery_reconstruction 
october 2010 by jerryking
Op-Ed Contributors - Haiti’s Eternal Weight -
JULIE SWANN. Haiti still faces a long road to recovery, but one of the
biggest obstacles is earthquake debris. The quake left debris, including
concrete and rebar from collapsed buildings, destroyed belongings and
human remains. 20 million to 25 million cu. yds of debris fill the
streets, yards, sidewalks and canals of Port-au-Prince — enough to fill 5
Louisiana Superdomes...At present, there is no significant, coordinated
financing by international aid groups for mechanized debris removal,
with estimates predicting the next 1.5 yrs. of debris mgmt. at ~ $300
million. Instead, almost all of the operations in Port-au-Prince are
$-for-work programs (e.g. Usaid, the EU), with Haitians, at best,
breaking concrete and loading trucks by hand and, at worst, moving
bricks from one side of a road to the other. Many workers lack masks or
gloves. This inefficient process puts $ into the hands of Haitians, but
it slows rebuilding.
relief_recovery_reconstruction  natural_calamities  Haiti  productivity  mechanization 
july 2010 by jerryking
Make Disaster Relief Sustainable - Ideas Special Report
Jul 6 2010 | The Atlantic | J.J. Gould. What if being
overweight in "local" means using workers who are ill-equipped for the
task at hand which slows the overall recovery effort?
disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  sustainability  local 
july 2010 by jerryking
A Marshall Plan for Haiti? Think again
Feb. 19, 2010 | The Globe & Mail | by David Carment and
Yiagadeesen Samy. If the Marshall Plan caused Europe to grow, it was
because Europe had a number of favourable pre-conditions that are
largely absent in Haiti: high levels of human capital, a long history of
democratic institutions and rule of law, private enterprise, and
trading history....To address problems of absorptive capacity, Canada
and its donor partners will need a strategy that clearly lays out the
sequencing of building political authority, legitimate governance and
sound economic capacity.

An effective strategic plan begins by specifying the end results that
are expected from those investments, the risks in achieving those
results, and indicators that track a reduction in those risks over time.
In short, a road map is only useful if you know your final destination.
Haiti  economic_development  democratic_institutions  relief_recovery_reconstruction  absorptive_capacity  strategic_planning  Marshall_Plan  roadmaps  human_capital  rule_of_law 
february 2010 by jerryking
In Small Steps, New Approaches to Managing Disaster -
January 18, 2010 | New York Times | by HENRY FOUNTAIN. There
are new innovative approaches being reviewed to building or rebuilding
infrastructure in developing countries, to help forestall disasters or
to recover from one. Among them are new ideas and projects to supply
quality housing, clean water, proper waste treatment and affordable
energy, in addition to health care. Pass to Engineers Without Borders
disasters  infrastructure  relief_recovery_reconstruction  developing_countries 
january 2010 by jerryking
How to fix Port-au-Prince
Mark MacKinnon

From Saturday's Globe and Mail Published on Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 7:31PM
EST Last updated on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010.
"But history tells us that Port-au-Prince will rebuild and recover, at
least to its previous state. Perhaps even to something better than what
existed, so long as the international community's attention doesn't
wander from Haiti, as it has so often in the past."
Haiti  relief_recovery_reconstruction  howto 
january 2010 by jerryking

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