Slow Responses and Lack of Preparedness to Protect Communities and Lifeline Infrastructure Assets from Extreme Floods

Observations on Government’s Slow Responses and Lack of Preparedness to Protect Communities and Lifeline Infrastructure Assets from Extreme Flood Events of 2011 as of September 20, 2011:

Irene flooding at North Main Street, Vermont, August 29, 2011
Credit: AP

After reading an informative comment from local perspectives on ground to the post on “Hurricane Irene devastation”, I researched recent efforts to modernize flood risk maps. I looked at the web site of Risk Assessment, Mapping, and Planning Partners (RAMPP) supported by FEMA and found nothing about accomplishments so far that would have reduced the risk to inland floods and coastal floods caused by 2011 devastating floods. This shows lack of communications with the state agencies and public. Is there good coordination with other federal agencies like USDOT and state governor’s offices as well as involvement of affected community stakeholders? Apparently these agencies and public are not involved to expand the goals of the improved flood maps to protect critical lifeline infrastructure assets from extreme flood events.

RAMPP‘s work is supposed to include activities similar to FEMA’s Map Modernization program, as well as attending to priority needs such as levees and coastal analyses. According to the RAMPP web site: “a joint venture of Dewberry, URS, and ESP, is contracted for FEMA’s Risk MAP phase of the National Flood Insurance Program. RAMPP is supposed to provide comprehensive floodplain mapping, GIS, and hazard risk mitigation services for FEMA to include specifically serving FEMA Regions II (NJ, NY, PR, and VI), III (DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV), and VI (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX). FEMA has started Map Modernization to Risk Mapping, Assessment, and Planning (Risk MAP) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009. FEMA’s “vision is to work collaboratively with State, local, and tribal entities to deliver quality data that increases public awareness and lead to action that reduces risk to life and property.”

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