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Group urges greater disaster mitigation efforts


The federal government needs to put a greater emphasis on disaster mitigation than on post-disaster relief, according to a report issued Tuesday by the SmarterSafer.org coalition.

“Neither the states nor the federal government devote sufficient resources to preparing communities and citizens for these growing risks,” said SmarterSafer in “Bracing for the Storm: How to Reform U.S. Disaster Policy to Prepare for a Riskier Future.”

“The ready availability of government aid after a disaster actually reduces individual and community incentives to invest in mitigation and makes it less likely homeowners and businesses will insure their property for disaster,” said the report.

SmarterSafer is a broad-based coalition of environmental, free-market, insurance and other groups.

Among other things, SmarterSafer urges the federal government to shift some resources to pre-disaster preparation, “ensure disaster spending is linked to concrete results, smarter safer building, and the mitigation of long-term risks,” create a central, high-level federal office to better coordinate emergency response and preparedness, and to phase in risk-based rates for the National Flood Insurance Program.