Hurricane Ida and Beyond: Readiness, Recovery, and Resilience
On Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. ET, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, will hold a hearing entitled, “Hurricane Ida and Beyond: Readiness, Recovery, and Resilience.”
Disaster recovery efforts by federal, state, and local governments are being outpaced by a volatile and intense 2021 hurricane season, and Americans continue to need assistance. On August 29, 2021, Hurricane Ida made landfall at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, as a category-four hurricane before remnants of the storm moved to the Northeast. Significant storm surge, hurricane-force winds, flash flooding, and damaged electric grids impacted communities in Louisiana, across the Gulf Coast, and in the Northeast.
The hearing will focus on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) recovery efforts following Hurricane Ida, including improvements the Biden Administration has made to accelerate recovery efforts following natural disasters, and steps FEMA must take to implement an environmental justice strategy to improve equity in disaster recovery and build climate resilient communities.
Hurricane Ida and its storm-related impacts resulted in nearly 90 deaths across the United States. In New York alone, at least 13 people died from flooding, many perishing in basement units of residential homes. The National Weather Service issued an emergency flash flood warning, noting, “[T]his particular warning for NYC is the second time we’ve ever issued a Flash Flood Emergency (It’s the first one for NYC). The first time we’ve issued a Flash Flood Emergency was for Northeast New Jersey a [sic] an hour ago.”
Extreme weather events like these are becoming more frequent and catastrophic, with nearly one in three Americans living in a county hit by a weather disaster in the past three months of 2021. Although the President approved emergency and major disaster declarations during Hurricane Ida, a more robust readiness strategy is necessary for future natural disasters.
This hearing will also discuss the urgent need to enact the Build Back Better Act to mitigate the impacts of climate change and invest in more climate resilient infrastructure.