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Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force releases resiliency recommendations

The Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force has issued a detailed new document which provides recommendations for ways to use Hurricane Sandy rebuilding projects to enhance business, community and critical infrastructure resilience.

The recommendations in ‘Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: Stronger Communities, A Resilient Region’ were identified through the help of input from the Task Force’s community engagement with a wide range of stakeholders (including businesses, non-profits, philanthropic organization, local leaders and community groups).

The recommendations include:

Ensuring a Regionally Coordinated, Resilient Approach to Infrastructure Investment by:

  • Making the electrical grid smarter and more flexible, and protecting the liquid fuel supply chain to better prepare for future storms and other threats.
  • Helping to develop a resilient power strategy for telephone and internet communication systems and equipment, so that our ability to communicate when it’s most necessary is less vulnerable to disaster.
  • Providing a forum to coordinate and discuss large-scale, regional infrastructure projects and map the connections and interdependencies between them, saving money and getting better results for all levels of government.
  • Establishing guidelines to ensure those projects are situated and built to withstand the impacts of existing risks and future climate change, in the region, and across the country.
  • Assisting States and localities to optimize Sandy recovery infrastructure funding and leverage non-federal resources to help build critical infrastructure assets that are resilient to current and future risks.

Promoting Resilient Rebuilding, Based on Current and Future Risk, Through Innovative Ideas by:

  • Giving governments and residents the best available data and information on current and future risks to facilitate good decision making for recovery and planning – for example, by creating and making widely-available a Sea Level Rise planning tool.
  • Leveraging the Rebuild By Design competition to deliver innovative, resilient rebuilding ideas to the Sandy-impacted region.
  • Prioritizing the engagement of vulnerable populations on issues of risk and resilience.

Providing Families Safe, Affordable Housing Options and Protecting Homeowners by:

  • Helping disaster victims to be able to stay in their homes by allowing homeowners to quickly make emergency repairs.
  • Preventing responsible homeowners from being forced out of their homes due to short-term financial hardship while recovering from disaster by creating nationally-consistent mortgage policies.
  • Making housing units – both individual and multi-family – more sustainable and resilient through smart recovery steps including elevating above flood risk and increased energy efficiency.
  • Communicating to state and local governments, residents, and workers consistent guidance on how to remediate indoor environmental pollutants such as mold.

Supporting Small Businesses and Revitalizing Local Economies by:

  • Making it easier for small businesses to access federal contracts for Hurricane Sandy rebuilding.
  • Creating specialized skills training programs in the areas needed most for Sandy rebuilding including opportunities for low income individuals and other vulnerable populations.
  • Developing a one-stop shop online for everything related to small businesses and recovery.
  • Improving the process for accessing critical disaster recovery loans and other resources; and increasing SBA's unsecured disaster loan limits and expediting the disbursement of small dollar loans.

Addressing Insurance Challenges, Understanding, and Accessibility by:

  • Encouraging homeowners and other policy-holders to take steps to mitigate future risks, such as elevating their homes and businesses above flood levels, which will not only protect against the next storm but also make their flood insurance premiums more affordable.
  • Streamlining payouts to homeowners and other policy-holders in the wake of a disaster.
  • Examining ways to address affordability challenges posed by Congressionally-mandated reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program.

Building Local Governments’ Capacity to Plan for Long-Term Rebuilding and Prepare for Future Disasters by:

  • Supporting regional planning efforts underway in New York and New Jersey to create and implement locally-created and federally funded strategies for rebuilding and strengthening their communities against future extreme weather.
  • Funding Local Disaster Recovery Manager positions in communities in the Sandy-impacted region and taking additional steps to prepare for future disasters.

Read Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy: Stronger Communities, A Resilient Region (PDF).

•Date: 20th August 2013 • US •Type: Article • Topic: Disaster recovery

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