According To A Report, 12 Weather Disasters Have Occurred In Oregon In The Last Ten Years

According to a recent estimate, 90% of the counties in the US experienced a weather disaster between 2011 and 2021.

Over those 11 years, some people experienced as many as 12 government-designated disasters. These counties are home to more than 300 million people or 93% of the nation’s population.

The paper was released by Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit organisation that conducts studies on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The Department of Housing and Urban Development launched it after Hurricane Sandy. Over ten years ago, this devastating hurricane struck the eastern United States and left $62.5 billion in damage.

Researchers could study disasters and payouts down to the county level because of data provided by contractors who closely cooperate with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. About 250 maps are included in the study. They also considered who was most at risk and examined how long severe weather left people without electricity in various locations.

The states with at least 20 disasters were California, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Tennessee. These included severe storms, wildfires, flooding, and landslides. However, during the 11 years, completely different states – Louisiana, New York, New Jersey, North Dakota, and Vermont — got the most disaster aid per resident.

According to the research, Oregon received $879 million in government funding between 2011 and 2021, with 12 disasters. The highest money, $66 million, was given to Lane County, most of which was used to repair damage from wildfires and winter storms.

According to the study, Polk County received $2.2 million, while Marion County received $4.3 million.

According To A Report, 12 Weather Disasters Have Occurred In Oregon In The Last Ten Years

Rebuild by Design’s managing director Amy Chester, who is also a research co-author, expressed astonishment that some states are receiving more funding for reconstruction than others. It’s partly because of state-by-state variations in the cost of living. The monetary value of what is harmed or lost also increases.

Professor of environmental justice and climate justice at Texas Southern University Robert Bullard, who was not on the team that produced the research, noted that disaster funding is frequently biased in favour of towns that are wealthier and have more resources. In 2012, Bullard and Beverly Wright, another environmental and climate justice expert, co-wrote a book titled “The Wrong Complexion for Protection” that discussed how Black communities are frequently left out of government disaster response efforts.

The latest report appears to confirm that. According to the report, those most at risk from the effects of these extreme weather occurrences don’t get much of it. Those regions of the nation also have the most prolonged power outages.

Bullard claimed that “money doesn’t reach the places of greatest need when calamities happen.”

The fact that heat waves are not considered disasters under federal law and do not result in government assistance could be another factor contributing to the uneven cash distribution. Southwest states like Arizona and Nevada might have more spending per capita if they did.

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Report Violations

According to some experts, the study goes too far in linking every weather event to climate change because policy advocates rather than scientists wrote it.

According to Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University, climate change has intensified the climate, strengthened some hurricanes, and increased the frequency of natural disasters. On the other hand, “I don’t think it’s right to call every calamity we’ve had in the last 40 years a climate disaster,” the author said.

Jackson claimed that even though not all of the weather disasters gathered are related to climate change, the collection may still be helpful.

“I believe that emphasising that weather disaster now fundamentally touch all Americans, regardless of where we reside, serves a useful purpose.”

He claimed that by 2020, the annual expenses of disasters would have escalated to more than $100 billion. More than $150 billion was collected by the National Centers for Environmental Information in 2021.

Changes in Policy

The researchers discovered that over 11 years, the federal government gave counties $91 billion to help them recover from catastrophic occurrences.

That excludes individual help or insurance payouts from the organisation and only covers spending from two programmes managed by FEMA and HUD. Additionally, it excludes assistance from other organisations like the Army Corps of Engineers and the Small Business Administration.

Chester claimed that the sum would be far larger if all of these federal disaster relief programmes were considered. Over $1 trillion, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information, was spent on weather and climate events between 2011 and 2021.

The research suggests that the federal government should focus on catastrophe prevention instead of waiting for things to happen. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, constructing levees or carrying out controlled burns can save the nation $6 for every dollar spent on disaster prevention.

The most important lesson, according to Chester, is that instead of investing in areas with the most social and physical vulnerability, our government keeps funding communities that have already suffered.

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