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US VP Harris to announce $1bn to states for floods, extreme heat

The grants can help communities over the nation plan and react to growing climate-related disasters.

Published On 2 Aug 2022

Kamala Harris, the vice president of america, has called climate change an instantaneous and urgent crisis as she detailed Biden administration efforts to react to disasters like the deadly flooding in Kentucky and wildfires ravaging her home state of California.

Harris on Monday was set to announce a lot more than $1bn in grants open to states to handle flooding and extreme heat exacerbated by climate change. The competitive grants are created to help communities over the nation plan and react to climate-related disasters.

Visiting the National Hurricane Center prior to the grant announcement, Harris said that disasters like the Kentucky flood and California wildfires show how immediate, how current and how urgent the problem is of addressing the extreme weather that weve been experiencing round the country and the planet.

The frequency has accelerated in a comparatively short time of time, Harris said. The science is clear. Extreme weather is only going to worsen, and the climate crisis is only going to accelerate.

Our communities are facing extreme weather compounded by the climate crisis, including hurricanes, floods, drought, extreme heat, and wildfires. Today, I’m in Miami, Florida to get a briefing at the National Hurricane Focus on climate resilience.

Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) August 1, 2022

In 2021, the united states experienced 20 climate-related disasters that all caused a lot more than $1bn in damage, Harris said, citing a written report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There have been about six such disasters each year in the 1990s.

The visit comes because the White House is leading a government-wide reaction to climate disasters that recognises the urgency of the moment and our capability to do something positive about it, she said.

The vice president was at the hurricane centre for a briefing before visiting Florida International University, where she actually is likely to announce the grants.

President Joe Biden announced last month that the administration will spend $2.3bn to greatly help communities deal with soaring temperatures through programmes administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Health insurance and Human Services along with other agencies.

The move doubles shelling out for the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, programme, which supports states, local communities, tribes and territories on projects to lessen climate-related hazards and plan natural disasters.

Communities across our nation are experiencing firsthand the devastating impacts of the climate change and the related extreme weather events that follow more energised hurricanes with deadlier storm surges, increased flooding and a wildfire season thats turn into a year-long threat, FEMA head Deanne Criswell said.

A man runs to a truck as a wildfire called the McKinney fire burns in Klamath National Forest, California.
Vice President Kamala Harris pointed to the wildfires in California as proof the urgency of addressing climate change [Noah Berger/AP]

The funding announced on Monday will make sure that our most vulnerable communities aren’t left out, with vast sums of dollars ultimately going right to the communities that require it most, Criswell said.

A complete of $1bn will undoubtedly be offered through the BRIC programme, with an additional $160m to be offered for flood mitigation assistance, officials said.

Jacksonville, the biggest city in Florida, was among cities that received money beneath the BRIC programme this past year. The town was awarded $23m for flood mitigation and stormwater infrastructure. Jacksonville sits in a humid, subtropical region across the St Johns River and Atlantic Ocean, rendering it susceptible to flooding when stormwater basins reach capacity. The town experiences frequent flooding and reaches risk for increased major storms.

The South Florida Water Management District in Miami-Dade County received $50m for flood mitigation and pump station repairs. Property development across the citys fast-growing waterfront has generated a high-risk flood zone for communities in the town and put pressure on existing systems, making repairs to existing structures an urgent need, officials said.

The Biden administration has launched some actions intended toreduce heat-related illness and protect public health, including a proposed workplace heat standard.

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