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Federal programs can be slow to respond


Public-private partnerships might seem to be an ideal way to promote resilient rebuilding while saving federal taxpayer dollars.

Yet federal programs aren’t always as well-suited to support resilience as options that are available through private initiatives and public-private partnerships, said Samantha Medlock, Willis Towers Watson P.L.C.’s head of North America capital, science and policy in Washington.

“First and foremost are the delays and inefficiencies associated with many sources of federal disaster aid,” she said, adding this is not a criticism of those programs or the federal staff who manage them. “Rather, it is often an inherent aspect of administering large-scale federal programs designed to provide limited assistance under specific legal authorities.”

For uninsured people and communities affected by disasters, federal disaster assistance can offer limited funding, but it often does not cover the full scope or scale of loss, Ms. Medlock said.

For example, the individual assistance funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Hurricane Harvey survivors have averaged only $4,000, she said. Those who were insured through the National Flood Insurance Program received average payouts of approximately $110,000.

“However, this is often not sufficient to rebuild higher to withstand future floods or to relocate to higher ground,” said Ms. Medlock.





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