After substantial increases in significant hurricanes in 2020, President Joe Biden wants America prepared for this year’s hurricane season.
On Monday, the president announced his administration would direct $1 billion toward the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) fund for extreme-weather preparation.
The commitment marks a 100% increase over existing funding levels.
The budget increase will go to the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, which provides support for local, state, and tribal government preparation efforts.
Administration officials said bolstering the funds helps to “categorically shift the federal focus from responding to individual disasters on a case-by-case basis to research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience.”
“As climate change threatens to bring more extreme events like increased floods, sea-level rise, and intensifying droughts and wildfires, it is our responsibility to better prepare and support communities, families, and businesses before the disaster — not just after,” administration officials wrote. “This includes investing in climate research to improve our understanding of these extreme-weather events and our decision-making on climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. It also means ensuring that communities have the resources they need to build resilience prior to these crises.”
In 2020, the U.S. recorded a record 30 named storms and at least 12 hurricanes or tropical storms. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration projects the 2021 season will produce more hurricanes and tropical storms.
“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement.
The Biden administration said the costs of extreme-weather events, in terms of lives lost and economic damage, have been staggering.
“Last year alone, communities across the United States suffered through 22 separate weather- and climate-related disasters with losses exceeding $1 billion each, shattering previous records, at a cumulative price tag of nearly $100 billion,” administration officials said. “This year has already wrought devastation, as unusual winter storms crossed Texas and the South.”