Using National Financial Incentives to Build Local Resiliency: The U.S. Disaster Mitigation Act
Kenneth C. Topping
Topping Associates International, 504 Warwick Street, Cambria, CA 93428, U.S.A.
The U.S. Congress passed the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 (DMA 2000) which requires adoption of multihazard mitigation plans as a precondition of local government eligibility for federal pre-disaster and postdisaster hazard mitigation grants. Its underlying purpose was to encourage local governments to systematically plan for reducing risks and future disaster losses before requesting federal grants to execute hazard mitigation projects. This paper examines the DMA 2000 legislation, its purposes, and the responses to it by state and local governments. Among other things the paper: 1) describes DMA 2000 statutory requirements, 2) assesses overall participation by region, 3) uses the State of California as a case study to examines hazard mitigation plan compliance issues, and 4) explores long-term implications of this broad national effort to use financial incentives to increase local resilience. By early 2009, 18,783 locally adopted hazard mitigation plans had been approved by FEMA. Although community resilience outcomes cannot be truly assessed without further research, the magnitude of this response implies substantial long-term local capacity building benefits within the U.S. This experience should also be the subject of comparative research regarding parallel efforts elsewhere.
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