250 word discussion response homeland security john week 3

Responses should be a minimum of 250 words and include direct questions. You may challenge, support or supplement another student’s answer using the terms, concepts and theories from the required readings. Also, do not be afraid to respectfully disagree where you feel appropriate; as this should be part of your analysis process at this academic level.

Respond to: John

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Flooding has been an issue for as long as mankind has occupied the land. Civilization requires abundant water sources to survive and thrive, so man naturally creates those civilizations near water. Unfortunately, the same water on which mankind is so dependent for survival can also be the means of his demise. Croplands are generally in flat areas adjacent to rivers and waterways, so rising water following spring snowmelts or major storms are an issue. Dams for producing electricity and taming waterways sometimes fail through lack of maintenance, or as the result of natural phenomena (earth quakes, mudslides, etc.). Coastal areas being near sea level are also at risk; not necessarily from rising sea levels (though that will eventually be a problem), but also from tides, storms, and cyclical erosion. Understanding storms, and flooding caused by them, is a critical aspect of resiliency. Understanding storm surge and how wind can push the tides inland is critical to resiliency in low lying coastal areas. As the comedian Ron White said, “[…]it’s not that the wind is blowing, it’s what the wind is blowing.

The article Rethinking Flood Analytics: Proceedings from the 2017 Flood Analytics Colloquium (2018) is the result of a working group forged between the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate, the Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, and the Renaissance Computing Institute. Its purpose was to use technology and analytics of past flood disasters along with updated analytical mapping models to develop new methods of resilience to preserve life, property, and communities.

The paper discusses a variety of issues which pertain directly with resilience:

  • Limiting property ownership and homes in areas prone to flooding through land usage agreements;
  • Community investment in resilience planning and protocol through an improved understanding of the real cost of floods;
  • Understanding the need for flood insurance programs;
  • How emergency management and information dissemination affect resilience;
  • The need for cultures and communities to embrace resiliency in a proactive manner, rather than dealing with flooding in a reactive mode after the fact (Knight, Richardson, Luettich, Lenhardt, & Graeden, 2018, pg 5).

The paper looks at resiliency through the tools of the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (understanding floodplains), satellite imagery, and timing for passing information to the populace as a means of establishing resiliency. All of this is viewed through the lens of the past 15 years of flooding in areas such as Houston, Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Flooding appears to be one of the natural disasters that many people ignore until after the fact. The NFIP uses calculators and models based on 100 year, 500 year, and 1,000 year flood data to determine rates for areas. This data is compiled by the USGS, and is periodically reviewed and updated; prices for insurance are predicated on where structures are located within those areas. Though the paper goes into depth examining the need for geological survey data, satellite mapping suites, information timing for local emergency management agencies, updated and enforced building codes, land usage agreements, and the need for flood insurance, it seems to miss a major issue: the insolvency of the NFIP. This could be because the paper is based on technological advances, so it steers away from the fiscal costs of living flood-prone areas.

The NFIP currently pays out more each year than it takes in, losing about $1.4 billion per year (Sigaud, 2018, para 2; Reid, 2017, para 12). This happens because in most cases the NFIP fails to charge insurance coverage fees commensurate with the level of risk and possible financial loss for the areas where it is most needed. This lack of proper premium pricing encourages new homes and businesses to pop up in places along high risk floodplains with the understanding that the federal government will be there to bail out the communities in the aftermath of a flood disaster. On the opposite end of that spectrum is the fact that if premiums were priced according to risk (as is slowly occurring due to updated floodplain models), many people who need flood insurance would be priced out of the ability to purchase it.

From a technological perspective, Rethinking Flood Analytics: Proceedings from the 2017 Flood Analytics Colloquium is exceptionally informative. It talks about resiliency through planning and understanding weather patterns, and mentions land usage agreements which are designed to limit a community’s building in flood-prone areas. As it relates to land usage agreements, it doesn’t provide in-depth solutions for areas like New Orleans which happens to be one of the nation’s historical treasures, but also happens to be situated several meters below sea level in places. While it goes into the need for people to have flood insurance, it fails to get into the weeds of where the money which backs the NFIP originates or methods to correct this deficiency.

References

Knight, S., Richardson, T., Luettich, R., Lenhardt, C., & Graeden, E. (2018). Rethinking Flood Analytics: Proceedings from the 2017 Flood Analytics Colloquium. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved from https://coastalresiliencecenter.unc.edu/files/2018/09/CRC-FloodAnalytics-Colloquium-Report.pdf.

Reid, M. (2017). U.S. Flood Risk Remains Poorly Understood, Plus 4 Other Lessons From Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Carrier Management, Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.apus.edu/docv…

Sigaud, L. (2018). Fixing the National Flood Insurance Program. The Hill. 13 November, 2018. Retrieved from https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/416301-fixing-the-national-flood-insurance-program.