Hazard Mitigation and Preparedness (U.S Term Paper

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[. . .] Flood Insurance offers an alternative to disaster support. It assists in reducing the increasing expenses of repairing flood-damaged buildings and their contents. Floodplain management regulates to reduce the flood damages. The NFIP also categorizes the national territory and maps the floodplains. By mapping flood hazards, widespread awareness about the flood dangers can be created. Mapping also provides the important data that is required for floodplain management programs ("The National Flood Insurance Program," 2010).

2. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is a federal program that assists the government in efforts to lessen the number of victims, injuries, and losses of property that are caused by earthquakes. It was established in 1977 by Congress. Four federal agencies (FEMA, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)) synchronize their complementary activities to maintain the program and put it into operation ("National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)," 2011).

The NEHRP agencies follow the goals of the program through mutual collaboration and the assistance of several partners. NEHRP's work includes researching, developing strategies and activities execution. The research is conducted to make the authorities understand the origination and factors of earthquakes occurrences. This knowledge helps NEHRP to develop plans, tools and techniques and other measures so that the catastrophic impacts of earthquakes can be reduced. This federal program also helps in assisting and endorsing the implementation of the devised measures. Thus, the buoyancy of earthquakes strengthens by implementing the proposed strategies in the earthquake-prone areas ("National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)," 2011).

3. The National Dam Safety Program

The Water Resources and Development Act of 1996 formally established the National Dam Safety Program though it has been functioning for about 30 years under FEMA. This program was started to safeguard the American citizens from dam failure. The partners in the program include states, federal agencies, and several stakeholders. It is a federally administered program for dam safety and it also promotes individual and community responsibility to save the dams ("About the National Dam Safety Program," 2010).

4. Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)

The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is responsible for providing grants to all the 50 American States and the local governments. These grants are used to implement continuing hazard mitigation measures after the affirmation about an imminent disaster. The HMGP also assists in reducing the loss of precious lives and damage of property that are caused by the natural disasters. The immediate recovery from a disaster is also dependent on the financial help provided by the HMGP which enables the implementation of mitigation measures in such areas ("Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP)," 2011).

5. The U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP)

NTHMP is a State/Federal partnership that was established in 1996. The main objective of this program is to lessen tsunami hazards along United States coastlines. The Paci-c States of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington put efforts to diminish tsunami hazards and NTHMP coordinates these efforts. NTHMP works with the three Federal agencies responsible for tsunami hazard mitigation. They are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) (Bernard, 2005).

Advantages of the U.S. Federal Programs for Hazard Mitigation and Preparedness

FEMA's mission to support the American citizens and first responders has been successful in achieving the desired goal of building, sustaining, and improving the nation's capability to prepare for, mitigate and recover from several hazards the nation has faced.

1. Mitigation lessens the loss of life and destruction of property and thus, helps to create safe r, securer and protected communities. For instance, 20,000 communities across USA adopted the meticulous building standards which has saved the nation about $1.1 billion on an annual basis in prevented flood smash ups.

2. Individuals who have adopted mitigation activities are now able to cater with and diminish post-flood disaster disorders. They now have the capability of recovering more rapidly from the disasters. It has been observed that less flood-damage was done to the homes that were built on NFIP standards. On the other hand, even if the flood damages the property, the homeowner's capital is protected by the flood insurance. The nation saw the authenticity of the insurance program in 2005; when more than $23 billion were paid after hurricanes debilitated the 200,000 residents of Gulf Coast.

3. The individuals and societies are supported economically as their financial impact is lessened. The Multi-hazard Mitigation Council has shown in a recent study that an average of $4 is saved for the society with just $1 spent on mitigation ("Mitigation," 2011).

4. About 20,000 communities throughout the country have involved themselves in the National Flood Insurance Program. In order to diminish any damage by future folds, these communities have adopted and enforced floodplain management ordinances. The National Flood Insurance Program, in return, provides federally-backed flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and businessmen in these communities. It is voluntary for the communities to participate in the NFIP ("The National Flood Insurance Program," 2010).

5. The purchasing of flood insurance by the landowners and the implementation of sound floodplain management requirements by the American communities has helped country to reduce flood damage by approximately $1 billion a year. Moreover, the buildings that have been constructed in flood-prone areas according to the standards provided by National Flood Insurance program suffer nearly 80% less damage yearly than the buildings that are not built in compliance with NFIP standards ("The National Flood Insurance Program," 2010).

6. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) supports basic research to inflate American citizens' awareness of earthquakes and their impacts. National Science Foundation accomplishes the task of funding earthquake-related research. This research is conducted in the fields of earth sciences, engineering and social sciences. Post-earthquake survey teams work under NSF also to conduct empirical research. These teams visit regions that are affected by earthquake so that earthquake impacts can be documented. They also check the performance of the built environment and efforts that are done to response and recovery ("National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP)," 2011).

7. Most of the dams in the United States, 79,500 in total, are regulated by the National Dam Safety Program ("About the National Dam Safety Program," 2010).

8. The U.S. National Tsunami Hazard Mitigation Program (NTHMP) is one of the best federal programs initiated by the U.S. government. Any potential destructive tsunamis are promptly confirmed by NTHMP and it also reduces false alarms. The needs of people dwelling along the coasts are also met by the program. Local tsunami mitigation is also addressed by NTHMP. Important information regarding tsunami hazards is also coordinated and exchanged with the local authorities through this program. It also provides a strong backup for the state and local governments for long-term tsunami hazard (Bernard, 2005).

Disadvantages of the Federal Programs

The basic problem about the federal programs that run under FEMA is that they do not have a clear direction. In 1979 when FEMA was created, it was spending nearly half of its budget to prepare for a mission for a colossal nuclear attack. This operation handicapped the more pressing mission of natural disaster response. The programs under FEMA have always been in a jumble since they began. However, on the other hand, these programs are serving as a life-saver for the victims of disasters and that's all which matters. The victims that have suffered natural disasters in the last few years were surveyed about the performance of federal programs. About 80% of the victims who were asked about the capabilities and executions of FEMA and its programs approved the ways adopted by the agency (Franklin, 1995).

Programs that work Best: Financial Assistance

There are several kinds of federal programs in the United States that have benefited the victims of disasters tremendously. However, the programs that work best are the financial assistance programs that provide loans and aids to the sufferers so that they can stabilize their lives again as they were before the disaster.

Financial assistance programs work best for the disaster-impacted regions in the United States. FEMA provides financial assistance to the communities that apply for and get presidential disaster declarations. This monetary aid is provided for specific recovery activities (Edwards & Afawubo, 2008).

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S. Code [section] 5121 et seq. As amended) helps the disaster-damaged communities by providing finances for recovery through public assistance programs. The affected communities access these programs by state and local governments and nonprofits fulfilling governmental functions subsequent to a presidential declaration of a state of emergency or disaster (Edwards & Afawubo, 2008).

The local governments present in the United States depend on various income sources. Real-estate taxes, sales and use taxes, and the local share of state income taxes are the most general sources of income. As they are required to maintain and stabilize budgets, they… [END OF PREVIEW]

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