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FEMA Continues Drawing New Flood-Risk Maps

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is continuing to publish new maps that identify the risk of flooding in a 100-year floodplain.  The program, called “Risk MAP,” is charting flooding threats to property next to approximately 900,000 miles of U.S. rivers, oceans, bays and other shorelines.  An estimated 31 million Americans live in these special flood hazard areas (SFHAs).  There are an estimated 10 million residential structures in all of the nation’s floodplains. 

To date, about 55 percent of the land near the 900,000 miles of  shorelines have had risk maps completed, and approximately 70 percent of the people living in floodplains where maps have been completed have been warned on the potential danger of flooding. 

Risk MAP, begun in 2009, may take until 2020 to complete under current budgets, FEMA officials estimate.  The total cost of the program will be about $1.5 billion through FY 2020 at current spending levels. 

“Risk MAP significantly improves the integrated flood risk management approach by weaving county-level flood hazard data into watershed-based risk assessments,” according to a recent FEMA report to Congress.  “These risk assessments serve as the basis for local Hazard Mitigation Plans and targeted risk communication activities. Risk assessments systematically analyze the people and property in a community or watershed potentially impacted by flood hazards to quantify physical and economic losses.”

 

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