Washington, DC — Today, SmarterSafer issued the following statement in response to the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
“The anticipated 2020 hurricane activity outlined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today further supports SmarterSafer’s expectation that this hurricane season is likely to see ‘above normal’ activity.
As we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 crisis and a possible fall resurgence of the virus, the upcoming hurricane season–which begins on June 1st–reinforces the urgent need for Congress to focus on pre-disaster mitigation efforts and effective risk assessment methods. We have seen the impact that lack of preparedness can have on the government’s ability to respond to crises, be they health, financial, or environmental. The overwhelming fight against COVID-19, paired with already scarce resources, will dramatically impact the ability of federal, state, and local governments to support the next crisis: hurricane disaster relief.
The combination of an ongoing pandemic and what NOAA has forecasted to be a busy hurricane season is a cataclysmic scenario. Policymakers have a responsibility to safeguard communities from the effects of natural disasters. The policies currently in place allocate an overwhelming amount of taxpayer dollars on post-disaster cleanup rather than pre-disaster mitigation, despite the fact that every dollar spent on pre-disaster mitigation saves six dollars in post-disaster recovery efforts. In order to help communities withstand hurricane damage, we must emphasize investments in climate-resilient infrastructure, boost natural coastal protection efforts, and ensure homeowners and renters more clearly understand the risks associated with living in flood-prone areas.
The COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning to policymakers that it is time to prioritize crisis mitigation efforts. Our communities must prepare now if we want to weather the next storm.”