tv Politico Hosts Discussion on Extreme Weather Disaster Relief CSPAN April 25, 2019 1:08pm-2:01pm EDT
following the rally, watch live coverage at 9:30 at the white with correspondent dinner ron sure now. later today we will bring you live coverage on a discussion of hate crimes, and the rise of white supremacist attacks, it's an event hosted by the lawyers committee on civil rights on the law. live at 3:00 eastern. and anent officials american red cross executive give advice on how to prepare for extreme weather and natural disasters at an event hosted by politico. they talk about what people can do before hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes, to help mitigate damage. >> good morning everyone.
thank you so much for coming. i am a budget and appropriations reporter for politico, a big thanks to anheuser-busch for sponsoring today's event. with me on stage is catherine, she is a food and agriculture reporter for politico, we have lots of experience covering disaster relief. from funding bites in congress to the way that wild fires, flooding, and hurricanes are affecting farmers, from north carolina to california. today, andreat panel immediately to my left is trevor , we have been with the american red cross for more than a dozen years, and he is now senior vice president for disaster cycle services. whosee hillary friends, washington state public land commissioner, she protects and manages more than 6 million acres of public land, and is in charge of the state's largest wildfire fighting force. -- wee daniel canoe ski
have daniel, the acting deputy administrator at fema, and the administrator for resilience. that makes him the second highest ranking official at fema, and he's the leader of the agency's predisaster programs, and we have christine, a senior fellow at the center for american progress. her research has focused on the increasing frequency of natural disasters and their cost. , we have a lot of ground to cover. zastrow eight is becoming increasingly politicized on -- disaster relief is becoming , theicized on capitol hill scale of disasters are -- and governments are under pressure to prepare more and mitigate future costs. i want to remind everyone that we will be taking questions at the end, i encourage everyone to think about what you would like to ask during this panel, and you can tweak -- tweet at
ticorelief.- #poli >> let's start with the disaster relief fight. billions of dollars have been held up since december, puerto rico remains the biggest sticking point in this fight. democrats are insisting on more funding, president trump says the island does not need more funding. whether you can break through this impasse remains to be seen. this is not the first time disaster relief has been politicized. -- $51, 50 $1 billion billion was held up from hurricane sandy due to republican opposition. i would love to ask, as a state leader, what do these political fights in washington mean for states that are doing this work? that are preparing for disasters
and have to do the work of recovering from them? >> my agencies on the front lines from everything from wildfires to floods to landslides. we have the largest firefighting team in the state. and our job is getting harder when we don't have the resources to prepare and prevent. the pull litigation of this costs time -- the pull politicalization of this costs time and money. what i always remember in this context is that our firefighters are fighting powers -- fires 16 hours a day, they are never asking what is your political belief. what are your values when they go to put that fire out. they are just working to get the job done. we have to be able to say, we cannot be divided, we cannot be distracted, we have to get the job done.
the politicalization costs of the time and the resources, it makes it harder for us to prepare and do that work. >> what does this look like in terms of the impact on the organization like the american red cross, or nonprofits? time, isis the risk of this a conversation causing other things to slow down? whether it's in long-term disaster case management or other programs that trickle out of these federal dollars. time can be an issue for a lot of the nonprofits who are working. for us, where we really don't it's donethis work, by generous donations from the american public, it adds a layer of confusion at times to response, to make sure we are coordinated and that we have the same mission in mind, that we are chasing the same goal. our volunteers, like any member of the fire service, is there because of the people we are opinion onhout any political affiliation. they are just there to serve.
anyway we could stream like that -- streamline that is better. >> compounding this event is that weather events are happening more frequently. recent congressional research service reports found that 2017 was a record year for disaster costing in the billions of dollars. daniel, i would love to hear from you about how your agency is evolving in terms of being able to respond more frequent disasters that are costing this much money. we realized after the 2017 hurricanes, it was not hurricanes, it was wildfires in flooding, fema needs to focus on the truly catastrophic events. most of the disasters in this country can be handled at the state level, at the local level. occasionally needing federal support. that is what the legislation that created the rubric that we operate under two disaster responses and emergency
management conditions created. what with more frequent and more intense disasters, fema's resources become stretched. by focusing on the truly catastrophic events, as the way we describe it, is moving towards a federally supported state managed and locally executed program. for most disaster networks, and most disasters, when you're talking about dollars, about 80% of the major disasters that fema response to cost $41 million or less. to put that in context, in puerto rico, we are currently spending $50 million a week. many disasters that you see are catastrophic, you see those in the news. but there are many you don't hear about that are being effectively managed and a state and local level, often with federal support. but that financial support is really what the state and local
governments need. they don't need fema to come in and take over the response. 2017 seemed to stretch some of fema's resources. in a recent review of the preparation and response, there was some acknowledgment of shortcomings there, particularly with respect to puerto rico. can you describe how the agency thinking after 2017? or did that year prompt any changes at the agency? >> we did and after action do.rt, that is something we we review what we did right and what we did wrong, we are very transparent about it. we publish that report. you can google that in see what we saw. thenctions we took were placed into our strategic planning. so what i mentioned about responding to catastrophic
events. that's readying the nation for catastrophic disasters. where i focus my energy on his is goal, creating -- one, crating a culture of preparedness, consider this a call to action. what can we do as a society to prepare for future disasters? ourselves, our families, our communities, our state? futurean reduce consequences now. take action now, to reduce future disaster impacts. into more details as we have this conversation but i will highlight, that if that involves actions we take on preparedness, individually and as a community, mitigation, making an -- investment into infrastructures and communities to reduce losses, and insurance. it's really all three. its three legs of the stool. all are necessary to build a
culture of preparedness. >> we will talk about preparedness mitigation, we will -- do you want to ask christina, for some context around some of the research we have been doing the cost increasing and the trends you're seeing with hurricanes, wildfires, and all of these disasters. record-breaking year, largely because of the atlantic hurricane season and harvey,station from irmo, and hurricane maria in puerto rico. 2018 was actually the fourth most expensive year on record in terms of disasters costing a billion dollars -- causing a billion dollars in damages. many of the worst disaster years in the united states have been since the year 2000, this is the result of the warming of the climate system. the increasing severity of storms, sealevel rise, and theng storm surge,
really catastrophic wildfire seasons we've seen in the west. which unfortunately often fall off the radar for those of us who live on the east coast. it's absolutely devastating in terms of loss of property, lives, and public health impacts. we know this is just going to keep getting worse. for everyow that dollar we spend, it will help predisaster mitigation. we say those dollars down the line in terms of cost after it hits. old adage that announce of prevention is worth a pound of cure really applies. administrator, who served in the role for eight years in the obama administration would say that there are not really such things as natural disasters.
events,e storms, severe but the consequences are the results of human decisions in terms of where we locate, homes, property, infrastructure, and the kinds of decisions we make in the lead up to and response to disasters. those are the things within our control, to change extreme weather -- we know it's going to get more extreme. >> as it gets more extreme, i want to ask a question to trevor about how this is changing the red crosses response. -- the red cross's response. logistics on where you are priority -- and where you are prioritizing your resources. >> we have work we do every day, we respond to 60,000 disasters a year. 95% of those are single-family fires. house fires around the country, and our local fire service partners give us a call, volunteers show up and make sure the family has a place to stay, money for food and we start the recovery. and we scale from these big
events. where it has changed our mission set up is how we rally our resources for things that do not have seasons. wildfire season is no longer this defined space, it's happening through the brain. what used to be a couple times every three to four years is now an annual event of catastrophic and historic wildfires. how do we rally our resources to respond just in time for something on like a hurricane where you can plan a few days out and you can pre-position supplies and volunteers. that creates a need for partnerships. our connections to our community partner is more critical than ever. indian tribe and lake county can open up a shelter before the fire knows -- before the fire. that's a big part of our strategy. the other big pushes the recruitment of volunteers. we need volunteers in every country, across the
not just responding to single-family fires but to those historic events that we see on a regular basis. on the grounde perspective as well, hilary, how is it impacting your state? >> let me start by what we are seeing in the disasters and the increase. we had the worst wildfire season on record, 18 hundred 50 wildfires in washington state. there's a new phenomenon where it's not just in the hot, dry, central eastern washington, but 40% on the west side of the cascades, where it rains all the time, all year long. but not anymore. last fiveover the years, 150 $3 million annually inviting fires. that ahrough the context pet -- an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. we have the resource and capacity to fight those fires, helicopters, equipment, and our firefighters, we can get on top of those fires and keep them
small and get them contained quickly and put them out. it's a surprise to everyone, for our firefighting teams i only have seven helicopters to cover the entire state. every of them fought in the vietnam war. everyone. i don't know how many of you are still driving a car from the vietnam war, but no one out there is. and we are putting our firefighters into these dangerous situations with outdated equipment and too little equipment. and we are seeing more catastrophic fire fires is because we have a forest health ouris, we have force that day -- dying, disease and -- diseased and pest infestations. one spark and thousands of acres -- thousands of acres will burn. we need to shift the model to paying upfront, to make sure we have the resource and capacity to fight fires and keep them contained, and start treating the forests so we can remove the
kindling and get it to the mills , and create jobs and create jobs in our local communities. >> when disasters strike, local and state are taxed with the immediate response, if they are overwhelmed they can go to the president and ask for help, and fema can evaluate those requests , that triggers a lot of different agencies, it can also involve the usa forest service, they can help fight the wildfire, and our equipment engineers. it seems like there could be , i wouldordination like to open up to the panel, how do think, based on lessons learned, the storms are so intense, where can the improvement be made for coordination? >> i will jump in. in the past, we all focused on response, on the emergency wave
in disaster. in the last two years we've seen recovery as the long road ahead. we saw that in puerto rico, and in a lot of places. we shifted a large part of our work to the recovery side. we have hundreds of millions of dollars in recovery operations. some of these from two to three years ago. great, the so families of paradise, california. down in hurricane michael, we just issued another $7 million in assistance for the families in hurricane michael. coordination is critical. whether it's the expansion agencies, the state agencies, the local agencies. the table is getting bigger. is involved in recovery in this community, and how we bring those together is critical. becomingthing we are more aware of as we get more practice, unfortunately. >> i will respond on this as
well. believer that we all got into this problem together and it's going to take all of us to get out of this problem. so on two fronts, we are building a team that is not just about my state agency but about our local firefighters, up to federal agencies. the first is with our wildfire strategic plan that will build a 21st century wildfire fighting force. we did not build it in my agency we built it across local, state , and federal government as one team. all lands, all hands working together to actually be able to get on top of those fires and keep them small. the second thing we did in the context, because of our forest health crisis is leading to catastrophic fires. we recognize that fire knows no boundaries. our forest disease knows no boundaries. it's being agnostic to property lines.
we've signed a good neighbor authority with u.s. forest service which has us doing projects on federal land. we're doing on state, tribal and private land, so we can holistically treat the problem and get on top of it. >> i think interagency coordination is super important. federal, state, local coordination is super important. but congress bears a lot of responsibility, too. for making that coordination possible. we started it by talking about the political delays in this latest disaster supplemental. which are really problematic. for many, many years, in the usda, the forest service had to borrow money from the prevention budget in order to fight these increasingly severe fires and to help states like washington fight increasingly severe fires. we weren't making the investments that hillary is talking about and congress needed to act to make the wildfire funding fix to stop that kind of constant borrowing against the future.
earlier this year, in the government shutdown, one of the consequences of that shutdown was that the forest service couldn't start the wildfire training that they do every year in the winter and to trevor's point, it's important to do it earlier and earlier in the year because the fire season isn't really a season anymore. it's more a constant state of being, especially in the west. so you know, these are the kinds of things that aren't typically part of the conversation in washington when congress is having these funding fights. but they have been severe for -- severe consequences for our communities and for the american people. >> can i jump on that? we used to start in may with trainings. we're moving them up to april and march. because of the government shutdown, actually we had to cancel a number of trainings, 700-person firefighter trainings. we thought, that's ok, we'll catch up. the reality is in the second week in march, we had 54 fires in washington state.
in one week. we have never ever in the history of washington state ever had that problem. we were actually having to backfill with people just on the ground pulling them in. because we didn't have our trained capacity. it is a real, real impact. >> we've talked a lot about the government shutdown. you know, as a budget and appropriations reporter, a lot of what i've covered is feathered on that fight. the funding, that the president wants to free up for construction at the southern border. and actually, a few months ago i did an interview with puerto rico's governor about this. at the time, it was sort of a question as to whether or not the trump administration was going to be tapping into disaster relief funding for puerto rico to build border barrier at the southern border. so daniel, i'd love to sort of ask you about this. i mean, i suppose what's going through your head at the time when this was in question and would love to get your thoughts on it and whether or not you
think we should be safeguarding against a move like that. >> first, let me say that there's currently $29 billion available at the ready that fema is responsible for, for whether it be puerto rico or any of the other 50-some active disasters o rico or any of the other 50 some open disasters in this country, $29 billion. so any political issues that are happening outside of fema are not impacting us right now. and they won't impact us for the next $29 billion. we will be in puerto rico and all of these disaster sites around the country through the conclusion of that disaster. all the way through the recovery phase, which is -- listen, it is complicated. it is long. but it is necessary. around the country through the it's necessary for the federal government to be there with our state and local partners to make sure that they can recover, they can effectively rebuild and repair all of this infrastructure that is damaged.
just to put things in perspective of how long we're talking about here, i started in september 2017. as luck would have it, that was around the time that hurricane maria made landfall. not that far after that, i learned that we were finally closing one of our open disasters from 1994. the northridge earthquake. 20-some years later. so, one, that shows us we need to streamline our recovery process with our state and local partners. but two, it shows you that fema will be there throughout the entire recovery and until all parties are satisfied that the recovery has fully taken place. caitlin: do you consider the -- you said you don't see politics impacting that $29 billion. but it is like fema doing and intent -- doing any internal advocating against the president
floating this proposal to move disaster funding to other priorities? daniel: again, it doesn't directly impact our support to those current disaster or future disasters as long as we have $29 billion in the bank account. well, i think we cank we can shift our conversation to preparedness and mitigation, since i think this has been a major theme of the conversation. christina, you mentioned that for every dollar spent on preparedness, there's a $6 savings in the future cost of the recovery. i want to ask daniel how fema is doing more to help communities and localities prepare for these disasters. daniel: sure. again this falls under goal one. building that culture preparedness. it's preparedness, it's mitigation, it is insurance. i think what we have heard here is we all agree that taking , action now is the right thing
to do. and specifically, on mitigation, completely agree that national institute for building sciences study that showed one dollar invested in federal mitigation grants saves six dollars in future costs when a disaster strikes. we've known that in the emergency management community for quite some time. craig fugate was mentioned. craig was a big advocate for this. something that none of us have been able to accomplish is to make an adequate or i should even say a game changing investment in mitigation. our time has now come. last fall congress authorized through the disaster recovery reform act a new pre-disaster program, a pre-disaster mitigation program that both moves mitigation forward, and here i need to set the context. most mitigation dollars that we provide, and it's in the billions of dollars in busy years -- is following a disaster. in other words, a disaster
strikes an area, and the public assistance money is provided to rebuild, and mitigation money is provided on top of that to build back better. make sense. but it doesn't make sense when you take a step back, and say look at all these potential areas of risk we have around the country. and the vast majority of our mitigation money is going where we have already been hit. shouldn't we take action prior? they've authorized this new program. i'm pleased to announce the name of that new program. it is building resilient infrastructure in communities. of course this is washington. so we have an acronym. bric, it's b-r-i-c. bric authorizes fema 6% of all of the disaster costs in the previous year in a competitive nationwide grant program the next year. in other words, it's truly pre-disaster. it's truly risk-based and truly available to all of those
communities that at risk now that may or may not have been hit by a disaster. we'll be working through that. we are working through that with our stakeholders on the rollout. but we're excited about this. to put it in the scale of what mean dollar-wise, estimates -- if you look at a is $300average, it million to $500 million we could be providing in competitive grants each year. if you look at a more recent period of time, the last couple of years or especially if you look at 2017, if this program existed in 2017, in 2018, there would have been $3.4 billion available in mitigation for state and local governments. that is a game changer. caitlin: why is this just happening now? daniel: i think honestly, it takes big disasters to cause change. so that disaster recovery reform act, drra, that had 50-some
provisions, one of which the one , i care most deeply about if you can't tell is that new bric program. but there were a number of other provisions we had sought over the years. it's not just this administration. it's the previous administration as well that sought provisions to make sure that we could take actions before, during, and after disasters that would best benefit a disaster survivor. caitlin: so you mentioned your forced resiliency plan a little bit. i would love to hear more about how you were able to -- i think the legislature is considering it this week. what has that effort looked like to get it to the legislature and i mean you had to come up with , some creative ways to fund it? hillary: so it's been a big lift. i think everybody knows the natural disasters we're likely to see, right? people has been in denial. what if it's not a bad wildfire year? what if it's not a bad flood year? the reality is every year has become worse and worse. more question about
if it is going to be a good year. it's going to keep getting worse. so we've been making the case that says we're going to pay as a state regardless. the question is whether we're going to pay to react and lose potentially lives, unfortunately, and the context of watching and reacting to smoke and fire and danger. or whether we're going to pay to be proactive and actually treat the forest, grow our local economies, protect our communities and protect our firefighters. for us, we needed to start with a plan. we have every year been fighting for basically pennies and dollars for funding for friar preparation -- fire preparation and funding and forest health. so we built a 20-year strategic plan that shows how much we're going to treat 7000 acres a year for 20 years, 1.25 million. when we do that, we take the wood, and we send it to the mill. we create local jobs in
communities are seeing 9% to 12% unemployment in real communities. we also then build a 21st century wildfire strategic plan that says if we're going to get on top of these and keep the fires small, we need these kinds of resources up front. obviously, the legislature says that's a really great thing. we get your point. help me find some revenue to do that. right? no surprise. we've been working really hard to find a dedicated revenue stream. because you can't implement a plan if every year you are begging for funding to do it. you're basically just hoping it's going to come. so we've identified a funding source that would be every state has it. right now it's in our state it's a 2% tax on insurance premiums. obviously we're wanting a direct nexus between property and casualty, and it would be a .52% increase to a 2.52% that would generate $62.5 million a year with the goal that as we invest year after year, we're going to
see an increase in the forest resiliency and a decrease in fires. so funding will over time get less. that's our goal. and right now we're fighting for it in the last week of our legislative session. i think across the state, people see that this fairly distributes the impacts of fire -- again, no person in washington state was not touched. we had the worst air quality in the world at times last year. and so every single person was impacted. and i think everybody believes we have to take action now if we are going to change the trajectory. as we say, you want a new normal that isn't what we've seen for the last five to 10 years. it's going to have to take preparation, mitigation and investment up front. caitlin: i was a little -- we were talking backstage and i was surprised to learn that washington state did not have a a dedicated revenue stream to something like that. christina, i'd love to hear a
little bit more in your research. are there other states or communities that have taken on efforts like this? i mean should we be , incentivizing more legislative efforts, projects, local-based initiatives in this realm or what have you seen, and do you think that this should be more common? christina: sure. we should be incentivizing a lot more proactive, state and local resilience activities to cut down on the risk of loss of life, loss of property from future disasters. and the challenging thing is a lot of our, the traditional ways that we build our environments is really not incentivized to mitigate these risks. if you look at a place like houston, hurricane harvey was the third straight year in a row that houston experienced a
quote-unquote a 100-year flood , actually a 500-year flood in terms of how severe and how widespread the flooding was. and the previous two years weren't from hurricanes. those want from normal storms. -- were not from normal storms. one of the reasons is because houston famously, very sprawling city, over the years as the city has grown and the suburbs have sort of spread out from the city center, you have houses, and roads, and shopping malls and whatnot going in over what used to be prairie, what used to absorb rainwater. and so now instead of absorbing into the outer parts of houston, it is flooding down into the historic neighborhoods closer to the city center. and you see in fema's flood maps the zone at risk of flooding has been growing and growing and growing over the previous 40 years. and so long as states and localities are not incentivized
approvingare development projects to take these risks into account, pretty much every local planning commission is going to err on the side of increasing local tax revenue increasing jobs, , increasing housing. and if you're not doing that planning in a dense way, in a resilient way, then disasters are going to keep getting worse and worse. and so you know this has been an , active debate in california and it has been an active debate in some other states. you know, right now, as things stand, there's not a whole lot that the federal government can do to change those incentives. caitlin: that is a great segue into my next question. we've talked a lot about washington. we talked a lot about the politicization of disaster funding, processes that need streamlining. we are just now introducing a grant program to help with preparedness.
i'd love to hear from hilary or trevor, sort of what are states and communities and nonprofits currently not receiving from washington that would be maybe tremendously helpful in some of these efforts? hilary: you want to go first? trevor you can go ahead. :hilary: i think -- i'll give a perspective in this context. so over the last 10 years, the number of fires in our state has more than doubled. the area has now encompassed the entire state versus just certain pockets of our state. the season has now moved from april and in this case, march, all the way to october and november. if i look back over 10 years of funding for just fire preparation not even the , mitigation side and forest health because of the fire we have, problems that over those 10 years, our state's budget, the funding received
from the federal and our state government, has only increased $2.5 million over the entire 10 years. that's it. $2.5 million. one fire alone costs $60 million to fight, right? what we have is a systemic problem at the state and the federal level of not adequately funding the resources for the problem that's in front of us. not only on the context of response, but truly in the context of preparation. what we need -- and that's why we built a plan that wasn't about our state. it was about all of our agencies working together so we would all own the problem. all lands, all hands. it is to be able to say we're all invested in the future of washington state. we're all invested in the future of our nation. and it won't happen unless we put the investments up front. and there's no more excuses for saying i didn't know, or i didn't think it would be a bad year. we know the natural disasters
that will hit every single corner of our country. we know how much it's costing us. and we know the actions that need to happen up front to reduce those costs and to make a difference in people's lives. there are no more time for excuses. trevor: so i mean, since july 1, we've seen just over 63,000 homes destroyed in large-scale disasters in the u.s. as hilary mentioned, it's an average year, right? in this new paradigm we're in. but think how extreme that is. we've tried to take that preparedness side down to the family level. i think a lot of times, the 63,000 number can be so overwhelming. we tend to have a culture of hope for the best. right? we don't plan for the worst most time. we hope for the best. we really try to take it down to family level. we have a great program we launched four years ago. we're going into living rooms and installing free smoke alarms in people's homes door to door. we just went over a million and a half smoke alarms.
we have documented over 500 lives saved through that program. what we need is more surround sound. right? the old adage of you have to hear something seven times to remember it. we need more air cover on the preparedness message. that's what i love about the bric program. it is going to help feed that making sure that kids hear it at the schools, that parents hear it in their workplace, the families hear it in the living room from organizations like the red cross. we have to keep telling the story. it's not about waiting for a nonprofit, a state agency, federal agency to provide some mitigation effort. it's personally. what are the steps i can take to be better prepared? we are lucky to have corporate partners in the u.s. to keep stepping up. partners like anheuser-busch have surrounded us and helped us to create the surround sound not just in the private sector but public as well. hilary: i think one message that would be valuable besides saying
we can help save money and by doing preparation and prevention, we can help save lives. there's another context. if we can look at it from an economic opportunity -- again, many communities that are hit are economically challenged communities. and we have really made the case that says, if we can get in and actually treat these forests, we can not only save money and lives and communities, but we can actually create jobs and we can actually create a better economic future in these communities. and if we can start to make the case with bric, that it's not about -- and with our own state dollars, that it's not about preparation and preventing the worst, it's actually about preventing the worst and creating economic opportunity, it is a much better way, and it is true and it will make a , difference. caitlin: we promised we would take questions. i'd love to pivot to the audience and see if anybody has any questions. right here. yes, you. and there's a microphone coming around, i think, for you.
>> thank you. good morning. i want to do explore especially with the red cross. caitlin: do you mind introducing yourself? >> my name is master healer -- max trujillo. i work in washington. as technology is more useful in disaster relief and i'm just -- i want to bring up that the faa just started to approve drones to be used for commercial. and i know there's been experimentation with drones for disaster relief. but in a situation like in puerto rico, there was a complete collapse of the communication system for the government which hampered the national volunteer organizations such as yours. a lot of people than decided to do their own emergency relief. and a lot of things stayed at
the airports in the runways et , cetera. how do you foresee the coordination of drone technology to use for disaster relief but especially when then everybody could then provide their own disaster relief? and there is no coordination, because then going to fema, what happens is that fema assumes that the state is there as a partner, but puerto rico showed that sometimes the disaster is so big that you don't have a partner, and you are the first responder. how do you coordinate all of this? thank you. >> that's a great question. one of our big principles is around stewardship. we operate with donated dollars, gifts from the american public. our corporate partners. we've got to be careful. we want as much of the money we raised to go directly to the families we serve. to people who lost their homes. we want as much to go as possible, which means we're not spending a lot on infrastructure and tools. so we need to depend on a lot of other partners. you likely won't see the red cross buying or maintaining a fleet of drones to do that. we'll be relying on state and local and federal partners who have those resources. i think it speaks to a higher challenge of trying to stay in
our lanes and make sure we're maximizing efficiencies across the different levels so we are not all trying to invent the same things. we have invested heavily in a common operating picture so we can track our resources through g.i.s. platforms. we're sharing that with our nonprofit partners. so a group like catholic charities, competing americans salvation army, we don't want , them to invest in the same things we did. i think the same value should be in all tools, all technology, if something has something that works, let's leverage it for the entire sector, and the entire response, and let them invest in other pieces that they are good at or have more expertise in. caitlin: any other questions? you. there is a microphone. >> yes good morning. , great panel. my name is john bird with miller -- we run the 3-d elevation
program coalition. and i wanted to really target hilary and daniel. nationwide elevation data coverage in the use of libor technology, there is a great thing where fema contributes a sizable chunk of its budget, known as 3dat. the question for hilary, given that the landslide issue is ongoing, the five-year anniversary, can you talk about how it's leveraged from your perspective? and then for daniel for the bric , initiative, how would you see enhanced elevation data factor into resilient communities and infrastructure? thank you. hilary: great question. one of the things i oversee is actually washington's geology survey. so we -- it wasn't until i was a role that i reminded myself that we have five live volcanos in washington state. we are ready for the -- we're not ready. that's our challenge.
we know the big earthquake could happen any time, right? and then we've got landslides consistently and constantly, especially after fire, frankly. we have been working tirelessly to get funding, and we have secured some funding from the legislature, and we continue to request and ask to map our states based on landslide risk. obviously, us doing that data and providing that information is only the first step. back to your point, it is the context of how we get that information to our local governments, to our communities so they will use that in their land use planning. and where residences and businesses are being built. so we are starting this, we started this about three years ago. most people will know we had unfortunately the most tragic landslide in the entire nation within our state where 43 lives were lost. we don't take this issue lightly. it's something we have to be investing more in. and we're in the process obviously of mapping the entire state to that.
we also have the risk of tsunamis, and we're doing the same in that way. it is a constant battle to get the funding and resources to do this work so that we can make it available for those local governments and the community members. and whether it is the elevation data or any kind of data that it helps inform risk either to fema, to the inner agencies you mentioned, that is a great initiative. we've invested heavily into this data and are providing it at no cost. where the rubber meets the road is at the local level, the community level. we talked a lot about how you build and where you build can really influence how resilient that individual, that homeowner, that community is after a disaster. think about it as zoning where you build, a local decision. we shouldn't be building in some of these locations because they are prone to wildfires or on the coast. and how you build. building codes. a local issue. if we had more disaster resilient building codes, we
wouldn't be experiencing the losses we are today. caitlin: we halftime for one more question. >> hey zack coleman here with , politico. just wanted to -- sorry for taking the last question. >> [laughter] >> just wanted to ask real quickly, you talk about a culture of preparedness preparedness and that being important at the same time the trump administration has not talked about one of the major drivers of what's making events more extreme and intense, which is climate change. i wanted to know what responsibility the trump administration has to talk about that issue and in what ways do local communities take cues from the federal government, and are you preparing them enough by not addressing that issue? >> so the climate is changing. i will say that, again, i started the day maria made landfall. you don't need to convince me that we have had more extreme weather, more intense weather,
more frequent weather the past two years. there's also a hurricane drought for the 12 years prior. i can't tell you why that is. i don't want to attempt to explain it. what i can say is, from fema's perspective, regardless of the cause, we have to take action. we can't sit there and assume that, whether it's fema, the federal government, the state government, the local governments are going to be there to respond and to help you effectively recover from a disaster. if you're an individual, i think that you need to know that not only is fema not a first responder fema is not going to , make you whole when a disaster strikes. we talked about hurricane harvey. it was an extreme event to the outer most edges of the extreme event. and it hit an area that was prone to to flooding. but was well outside the flood zone in many cases. in fact, 80% of the flood losses from hurricane harvey were outside of that 100-year flood zone. i absolutely refuse to use that term, that 100-year flood zone but it was mentioned. >> sorry.
daniel: any home can flood. doesn't matter if you're inside or outside of a flood zone. you might be required to have flood insurance if you are inside that zone. but everybody should have it. because there's a nonzero probability that your home will flood. and by the way, your homeowners insurance does not cover flood insurance -- does not cover flood losses. it doesn't. if you're relying on the federal government, you're going to get much less than you would from your insurance company. for example, hurricane harvey, harris county, texas. on average we provided $4000 to the average -- to the disaster survivor on average in harris county, texas. i'm proud that we put $4000 into disaster survivors' hands. but $4000 isn't going to make you whole. if you lost everything, $4000 is a drop in the bucket. but if you would have known that your homeowners insurance policy didn't include floods, if you
knew you were at risk to a one in 5000, you probably would have bought flood insurance relatively cheaply. a very low premium. instead of receiving $4000 on average from fema, you would have received on average $110,000. because you took that proactive action. so am i being clear? take action now. whether it be mitigation programs that are going to be available to you, whether it be preparedness actions that is you take as an individual, which includes financial preparedness, by the way. it's financial capability month. all of you should call your insurance agents after you walk out of this. and from a government standpoint, we need to realize that we have a huge problem on our hands which is spiraling out of control disaster costs that we can mitigate and we can prepare, but ultimately we need to transfer the costs somewhere else. we believe it should be transferred to the insurance markets, the private sector.
we're practicing what we preach at fema. we're transferring a lot of our flood risk off of the backs of federal taxpayers into the reinsurance markets. we just placed another $300 million last week in the reinsurance markets. but governments need to do that as well. the insurance gap, the difference between what's insured and insurable is huge in this country. it's the biggest anywhere in the world. we expect $55 billion a year in losses due to natural disasters. of that $30 billion is uninsured. said another way, more than half of our disaster losses are uninsured. so if i'm not being clear, please let me know. but we need to take these actions. we are very passionate about that at fema. caitlin: well thank you. , this has been a great panel. i think, you know some of the , big takeaways here is obviously we're in this new reality. i think it was you that said we have to rally resources for things that don't have seasons
anymore which is alarming. it is obviously a battle to get these preparedness and mitigation funds. it seems like it takes incentive at the federal level but it also has to be led at the state and local levels. that's kind of what i'm hearing. they have to take a lot of action. it is -- >> all hands, all land. everybody coming together to get it done. caitlin: let's give a round of applause to our panel here. trevor, daniel, hillary, christina. thank you very much, and i hope everyone has an awesome day. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer 1: later today we will
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