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.
-  Phillip Berke, Gavin Smith, and Ward Lyles, “State Hazard Mitigation Plan Evaluation and Model Practices,” Center for the Study of Natural Hazards and Disasters, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, August 31, 2009.
-  Boswell et al, “Local Hazard Mitigation Planning in California A Report on the Implementation of LHMPs under DMA 2000,” State of California Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan Addendum Report, Prepared for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, December 2008.
-  Bureau of Indian Affairs,
Web Site, www.doi.gov/bureau-indianaffairs.html
-  California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES), 2007 State of California Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan:
-  Federal EmergencyManagement Agency, “Multi-hazard Mitigation Planning Guidance Under the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000,” March 2004.
-  Federal Emergency Management Agency, “State and Local Mitigation Planning how-to guides,” Various dates for ten guides from 2001 to 2003, available online, in print, and as CD ROM.Washington, D.C.: FEMA.
-  Multihazard Mitigation Council, “Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Assess the Future Savings from Mitigation Activities,” Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Building Sciences, 2005.
-  R. Olshansky, L. Johnson, K. Topping, “Post-Disaster Redevelopment: Lessons from Kobe and Northridge,” Final Report, NSF Award No. CMS-9730137, July 11, 2003.
-  Adam Rose et al., “Benefit-Cost Analysis of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grants,” Natural Hazards Review, November 2007.
-  Schwab et al, “Integrating Hazard Mitigation into Community Planning,” (forthcoming, 2010).
-  Jim Schwab, with Kenneth C. Topping, Charles D. Eadie, Robert E. Deyle, and Richard A. Smith, “Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction,” PAS Report Number 483/484. Chicago: American Planning Association, 1998.
-  Kenneth C. Topping, “A New Approach to Earthquake Disaster Risk Reduction Planning in the U.S.: Lessons from the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000,” Proceedings, Second Asia Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Manila, 10-11, 2006.
-  U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), “Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters,”World Conference on Disaster Reduction, 18-22 January 2005, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan.
-  U.S. Census Bureau, “2002 Census of Governments,”