The United States is failing to help Americans hit by extreme weather rebuild and recover, the New York Times reports, creating “an expanding archipelago of loss” as people struggle and languish in motel rooms and trailer parks across the country. Agencies, primarily FEMA, as well as HUD, stuck with plans and programs designed without accounting for climate change, are not equipped to keep up with the climate-accelerated pace of extreme weather disasters.
The failure is “re-victimizing disaster victims,” Rep. Garret Graves — a Louisiana Republican who voted against providing more than $28 billion in emergency disaster funding for regions hit by extreme weather disasters including Hurricanes Ida, Laura, Delta, and Zeta — told the Times.
In Lake Charles, hit by Hurricanes Laura and Delta six weeks apart in 2020, roofs are still covered with blue tarps as FEMA relief funds have been too small, and too late in coming — a vicious cycle that only increases costs as mold spreads and homes fall further into disrepair. The full cost of the failures will almost certainly never be calculated. Hurricane Laura destroyed the Lake Charles home where Adrian Swope, paralized decades ago, lived with his mother Betty. After fifteen months of being confined to a bed in small hotel and trailer rooms, Adrian died from what the coroner determined were complications of paraplegia. “If we were able to get one room fixed in [our] house,” Betty lamented to the Times, “he would have been here still today.” (New York Times $)