Saturday, September 27, 2014

Choosing to flee or fortify against future storms in NJ

"It has been nearly two years since Hurricane Sandy crashed ashore in New Jersey, devastating cities throughout the region. As cities and towns along the coast consider how to prepare for future weather patterns, and avert the kind of damage that happened in 2012, a two-pronged response has emerged — a kind of municipal fight-or-flight response."

Writing for NPR's All things Considered show, Franklyn Cater reports:
"One option is to retreat — encourage residents to move away from the water. The other is
to resist — armor the coast so it can take a battering without flooding city streets.
"The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, and the Department of Housing
and Urban Development, or HUD, are dedicating hundreds of millions of dollars to the first
response — and billions to the second.
The Coleman family
Cater interviews Monique Coleman whose family endured multiple flooded basements before accepting money from the state allowing them to move to a less vulnerable location.   
"Coleman says the experience is bittersweet. "I was talking to my neighbors all this week about that and just the realization that we're here at this point is pretty tough, because we have grown very close, especially through the whole flood experience," she says. "So now, the fact is that we are all separating. That's tough."
New Jersey Meadowlands

On the flip side, the story how some communities are working on building defenses
against future flooding.

"This year, HUD set up a competition called  
Rebuild By Design, in which architecture
and engineering firms proposed ways to protect against future disasters. 
Private philanthropy funded much of the contest. And the agency designated nearly a
dollars of Hurricane Sandy relief money as start-up cash for the winning proposals.
"One of the winning proposals in New Jersey, the New Meadowlands, would take a marshy
landscape and turn it into a world-class, flood-absorbing park."

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