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Cunningham Bill to Help Communities Recover from Flooding and Natural Disasters Advances to the House Floor

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The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted yesterday to pass the Preliminary Damage Assessment Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and John Katko (R-NY) that would help expedite FEMA’s process for conducting damage assessments. The bill would designate permanent disaster assessment teams within FEMA to work with state and local officials on determining the impact of disasters and submitting requests for major disaster declarations.

Nationally, the average time it takes to conduct an assessment of a flooding event is 48.5 days. The establishment of full-time FEMA employees with experience and expertise in conducting assessments will lead to quicker and more consistently accurate assessments.

“South Carolina is no stranger to floods, hurricanes, and natural disasters, and in those circumstances, we know that time really is money.,” said Rep. Joe Cunningham. “It is critical that FEMA is able to act quickly and efficiently when responding to natural disasters. I encourage House leadership to hold a full House vote on this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible and help give communities impacted by a natural disaster the efficient and speedy relief they deserve.”

“In the aftermath of a flood, states and local governments need timely assistance so that they can begin to rebuild. We are grateful for the bipartisan leadership of Congressmen Katko and Cunningham in putting forward a solution that will streamline and improve efforts to help American communities recover more quickly from a disaster,” said Melissa Roberts, Executive Director of the American Flood Coalition.

“This bill provides South Carolinians the resources to access information rapidly after a natural disaster.  The bill is a positive step in response to the complications that arise from flooding events, including access issues associated with communities overwhelmed by floodwater.  Those in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and so many others are all too familiar with the devastation that these events cause, and access to damage assessment should not be hindered or delayed during such times.  We applaud the efforts of Congressmen Joe Cunningham (D-SC) and John Katko (R-NY) on this bill,” said Owen Tyler, President of the South Carolina Association of REALTORS®.

“Having a preliminary assessment from FEMA gives us a better understanding of the potential disaster risk. Providing our members with the tools they need to make educated recommendations to clients is the most important aspect of our business. The more information we can offer, the better for everyone. We applaud the move towards more disclosure and welcome a risk assessment system,” “Having a preliminary assessment from FEMA gives us a better understanding of the potential disaster risk. Providing our members with the tools they need to make educated recommendations to clients is the most important aspect of our business. The more information we can offer, the better for everyone. We applaud the move towards more disclosure and welcome a risk assessment system,” said Josh Dix, Director of Government Affairs, Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®.

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