Funding Disaster Relief Efforts

Recent natural disasters have caused significant harm to many of America’s special places. Winds, fire and flooding have caused devastation in San Juan, the Florida Keys, Houston, and California’s wine country. Our deepest sympathies go out to all those who have endured these devastating events.

To address the mounting costs of recovery efforts, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote this week on a $36.5 billion disaster relief package. The bill will add $18.7 billion to the Federal Emergency Management’s disaster fund. It would allow $4.9 billion of that money to be used as disaster loans to assist the government of Puerto Rico, which is running critically low on funds. The bill will also provide $576.5 million for wildfire efforts in the West. And, it will erase $16 billion in National Flood Insurance Program debt.

This bill is unlikely to be the last supplemental funding measure required to cope with the widespread devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria as well as the wildfires in the western United States. As residents cope with the destruction and make plans to rebuild, it is critical that we protect America’s historic resources. The communities affected by these disasters are home to many buildings and historic sites that are a vital part of America’s story.

We would like to learn more about innovative survey projects and funding solutions devised during the Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy responses. If you worked closely on the Katrina or Sandy recoveries, and have insight about programs or approaches that should be scaled up for current hurricane relief efforts, please email us. We have a short window in which to advocate for the resources that we need. Your help would be much appreciated.