Flood mitigation and response comparing the Great Midwest Floods of 1993 and 2008
West, Tracy L.
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Floods are the nation's greatest natural disaster. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, floods cause an average of $6 billion of property damage, claim 140 lives, and prompt more Presidential disaster declarations per year than any other hazard. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is the lead for federal response to natural disasters. FEMA was the lead agency in 1993 when floods caused an estimated $1 8 billion in damage in the Midwest. The scope and damages of this historic disaster led FEMA to change its approach to floodplain management, flood protection, flood mitigation, disaster response, and recovery. FEMA and federal emergency response further evolved following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The latest changes resulted in a national response framework for all levels of government to prepare and respond to all natural and manmade hazards. In 2008, the Midwest experienced its second "500-year flood" in fifteen years. This thesis examines whether changes to national disaster response and investments in flood mitigation over the last fifteen years have improved preparation, protection, and response capabilities at the federal, state, and local levels.
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