New FEMA guidelines for reconstruction announced
| 04.13.2006 | 05:36:57 | Views: 2927 | ID:
April 13 '06: The New York Times reported Thursday that federal guidelines for rebuilding homes in New Orleans were announced "allowing tens of thousands of homeowners to return to their neighborhoods at costs far less than they had feared."
Under the "unexpectedly lenient" guidelines, some of the houses will have to be raised at least three feet above the ground or else those homes might not qualify for federal reconstruction aid or insurance, the Times found. In addition to that announcement, the Federal Emergency Management Agency issued a series of statements on its website saying improvements in the overall structure and design of the agency has resulted in a "renewed sense of commitment, improvement and urgency.""FEMA will be prepared," the website read, "to coordinate with the federal government's supporting role. FEMA also understands the special needs of the Gulf Coast states, which will include a need for assistance with evacuation planning, difficulties with manufactured housing, and diminished law enforcement capabilities." That federal coordination will include working with state and local emergency management leaders and first responders as well, according to acting FEMA Director R. David Paulison: "We can all agree that disaster response starts at the local level. When the local government is overwhelmed, they ask the state for support and when the state is overwhelmed, you request support from FEMA and the federal government." The Washington Post reported that in addition to new regulations and guidelines for those reconstruction efforts, and additional $2.5 billion will be spent on levee construction in New Orleans. "The $2.5 billion," the Post reported, "combined with previous efforts, would protect 98 percent of the population in the four-parish region with levees strong enough to meet flood insurance standards ... and would protect them against the extreme event known as the '100-year flood.'" USA Today gave some numbered estimates on the potential cost of raising houses in the area to a level that would make the eligible for federal assistance and flood insurance. In some cases, raising a house would cost $60,000. However in order to qualify for ancillary funding, "Louisiana's housing aid plan, which offers up to $150,000 to homeowners whose insurance doesn't cover their losses, requires rebuilt or new homes to abide by the elevation guides." Paulison said, "Americans want to know if we are ready for future disasters and they are anxious and looking to us for reassurance - and that is reassurance we can give them. ... Effective emergency management requires a team approach. This partnership needs to include all levels of government and all disciplines of emergency management and response."
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