US VP Harris to announce $1bn to states for floods, extreme heat | Climate Crisis News

The grants will assist communities throughout the nation put together for and reply to rising climate-related disasters.

Kamala Harris, the vp of america, has referred to as local weather change an “fast” and “pressing” disaster as she detailed Biden administration efforts to answer disasters such because the lethal flooding in Kentucky and wildfires ravaging her residence state of California.

Harris on Monday was set to announce greater than $1bn in grants accessible to states to handle flooding and excessive warmth exacerbated by local weather change. The aggressive grants are designed to assist communities throughout the nation put together for and reply to climate-related disasters.

Visiting the Nationwide Hurricane Heart earlier than the grant announcement, Harris mentioned that disasters such because the Kentucky flood and California wildfires present “how fast, how present and the way pressing the problem is of addressing the intense climate that we’ve been experiencing across the nation and the world”.

“The frequency has accelerated in a comparatively quick time period,” Harris mentioned. “The science is obvious. Excessive climate will solely worsen, and the local weather disaster will solely speed up.”

In 2021, the US skilled 20 climate-related disasters that every prompted greater than $1bn in injury, Harris mentioned, citing a report by the Nationwide Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There have been about six such disasters per yr within the Nineties.

The go to comes because the White Home is main a government-wide response to local weather disasters that “recognises the urgency of this second and our potential to do one thing about it,” she mentioned.

The vp was on the hurricane centre for a briefing earlier than visiting Florida Worldwide College, the place she is predicted to announce the grants.

President Joe Biden introduced final month that the administration will spend $2.3bn to assist communities deal with hovering temperatures by way of programmes administered by the Federal Emergency Administration Company (FEMA), the Division of Well being and Human Companies and different companies.

The transfer doubles spending on the Constructing Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, programme, which helps states, native communities, tribes and territories on initiatives to cut back climate-related hazards and put together for pure disasters.

“Communities throughout our nation are experiencing firsthand the devastating impacts of the local weather change and the associated excessive climate occasions that comply with — extra energised hurricanes with deadlier storm surges, elevated flooding and a wildfire season that’s develop into a year-long risk,” FEMA head Deanne Criswell mentioned.

A man runs to a truck as a wildfire called the McKinney fire burns in Klamath National Forest, California.
Vice President Kamala Harris pointed to the wildfires in California as proof of the urgency of addressing local weather change [Noah Berger/AP]

The funding introduced on Monday will “assist to make sure that our most weak communities are usually not left behind, with a whole lot of tens of millions of {dollars} finally going on to the communities that want it most,” Criswell mentioned.

A complete of $1bn will likely be made accessible by way of the BRIC programme, with an extra $160m to be supplied for flood mitigation help, officers mentioned.

Jacksonville, the most important metropolis in Florida, was amongst cities that acquired cash below the BRIC programme final yr. Town was awarded $23m for flood mitigation and stormwater infrastructure. Jacksonville sits in a moist, subtropical area alongside the St Johns River and Atlantic Ocean, making it weak to flooding when stormwater basins attain capability. Town experiences frequent flooding and is in danger for elevated main storms.

The South Florida Water Administration District in Miami-Dade County acquired $50m for flood mitigation and pump station repairs. Actual property growth alongside town’s fast-growing waterfront has created a high-risk flood zone for communities within the metropolis and put strain on current techniques, making repairs to current constructions an pressing want, officers mentioned.

The Biden administration has launched a sequence of actions supposed to scale back heat-related sickness and shield public well being, together with a proposed office warmth normal.

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