A new report finds that federal disaster-mitigation grants produce an average of $6 in societal savings for every dollar spent.
Posted on CityLab | By Benjamin Schneider
In financial terms, 2017 was the worst year for natural disasters in American history, costing the country $306 billion. Scientists agree that hurricanes, floods, and fires are now turbo-charged by climate change, which the president and many top Republican leaders still refuse to acknowledge. But even while the federal government fails to address the root of the problem, there are ways to limit the damage from these increasingly frequent events—in property, and more importantly, in human life.
For every dollar spent on federal grants aimed at improving disaster resilience, society saves six dollars.
National Institute of Building Sciences
A new report from the National Institute of Building Sciences finds that for every dollar spent on federal grants aimed at improving disaster resilience, society saves six dollars. This return is higher than previously thought: A 2005 study by NIBS found that each dollar from these grants yielded four dollars in savings.
“A lot of things have happened since 2005,” said NIBS’s Ryan Colker, who contributed to the report. “Katrina, Sandy, and the increasing ... frequency of disasters prompted us to look at what has changed”. NIBS, a nonprofit group authorized by the U.S. Congress, took into account grants from FEMA, HUD, and the Economic Development Administration, whose staffs collaborated with NIBS to produce the report. $27 billion spent in mitigation grants over the past 23 years has yielded $158 billion in societal savings, they found.
Many of the interventions the grants funded were simple, like installing hurricane shutters, replacing flammable roofs, and clearing vegetation close to a structure.
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