Speeches & Testimony

Federal Government Must Boost Investment in Disaster Preparation

The Pew Charitable Trusts submitted comments in March on the draft of a National Mitigation Investment Strategy, developed by a federal policy group chaired by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and made public for review in January. The purpose of the document is to provide a more strategic approach for government, private sector, and nonprofit investment in disaster mitigation and risk management. The Government Accountability Office called for such a strategy in a 2015 report.

Pew supports many of the draft strategy’s recommendations while offering suggestions, including for the nation to increase spending on mitigation before disasters. From 2005 to 2014, federal departments and agencies obligated at least $277.6 billion to disaster assistance but far less—just $600 million—to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, which helps communities make improvements to better withstand future storms.

The importance of the National Mitigation Investment Strategy is underscored by recent research by the National Institute of Building Sciences in its Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report. The study finds a $6 return for every $1 invested in federal mitigation grants.

FEMA anticipates publishing the investment strategy in November.

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