Rapidly rising cost of weather and climate disasters a growing concern
Weather and climate disasters such as droughts, flooding, freeze, tropical cyclones, wildfires, winter storms and severe storms can have a catastrophic impact on communities, including loss of life, homes, and businesses.
Since the 1980s, the average number of annual disasters in the U.S. has risen by 128%. Between 1980-1990, there were only 2.9 weather and climate disasters occurring per year. Between 2010-2020, that number rose to an average of 13.2 disasters per year, and in the last 5 years, the average has reached 16.2 events per year. In 2020 alone, there were 22 weather and climate disasters in the U.S. As a result, everything from human health and agriculture to transportation and ecosystems is affected.
The economic blow from these disasters has also increased dramatically over the years, from a total of $195.4 billion between 1980-1990 to $943.6 billion between 2010-2020. The total cost from 1980 to present day exceeds $1.975 trillion.
Response options focused on mitigation and adaptation
Being proactive about the potential effects of weather and climate disasters can improve response efforts and resilience, helping reduce the overall impact and associated costs of these disasters when they do occur.
As these changes continue to develop, the U.S. is faced with several response options, including mitigation and adaptation. Programs that help mitigate risks today are intended to significantly reduce the need for adaptation in the future.
$1 billion program opening September 30th, 2021
One such program launched by FEMA, whose mission is helping people before, during and after disasters, is the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program.
BRIC provides funding to state and local governments for mitigation activities addressing the growing hazards associated with climate change, as well as the need for natural hazard risk mitigation activities that promote climate adaptation and resilience with respect to those hazards.
Over $1 billion in funding will be available through the BRIC program for fiscal year 2021-2022, slated for distribution in the following manner:
- $56 million (up to $1 million per applicant) toward state/territory funding, including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.
- $25 million toward the tribal set-aside, which all federally recognized Tribal Governments may apply to. Up to $1 million per applicant.
- $919 million toward the National Competition for Mitigation Projects, which will also include any funds not awarded from the State/Territory allocation. Up to $50 million per sub applicant, including local governments, tribal governments, state agencies, and tribal agencies.
Applicants will be required to have a FEMA-approved Hazard Mitigation Plan when applying. Funded activities will include capability and capacity building, mitigation projects and management costs, as well as non-financial direct technical assistance.
The intake period for this fund will begin September 30, 2021, and the deadline to apply is January 28, 2022. Upon receipt of the awards, applicants will have 36 months to complete their project.
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