Articles by Christopher Flavelle

Latest Storms May Finally Shift Focus to Disaster Mitigation by Local Communities

Hurricane Michael’s devastation could spur policymakers to better prepare vulnerable communities for the effects of climate change. The images of entire towns in Florida’s panhandle all but erased by storm surges, as well as accounts of bodies pulled from shattered …

FEMA Head ‘Ticked Off’ Over Cycle of Inadequate Storm Preparation, Insurance, Evacuations

Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Brock Long angrily criticized the failure of citizens to heed evacuation warnings and leaders to better prepare for natural disasters such as Hurricane Michael. “It’s frustrating to us because we repeat this same cycle over …

FEMA Chief Under Scrutiny Over Use of Government Vehicles

A demand for documents by a key House Republican adds to the growing pressure on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s chief as he coordinates the government response to Hurricane Florence. On Monday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy sent Brock …

Florence Floods Cause Sewage, Coal Ash Spills

A Duke Energy Corp. landfill near Wilmington, North Carolina, failed under the assault of Tropical Storm Florence, spilling about 2,000 cubic yards of coal ash that can carry toxic mercury, arsenic and lead. Authorities said they would investigate whether the …

U.S. Report Says Lack of Staff, Resources, Planning Hurt FEMA’s 2017 Disaster Response

The federal government’s chief watchdog slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the hurricane that killed thousands of people in Puerto Rico last year, saying it was unprepared and failed to deploy enough qualified staff. The U.S. Government Accountability …

As Hurricane Lane Neared Hawaii FEMA Promises to Do Better

As a Category 4 hurricane roared toward Hawaii, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it’s learned the lessons of last year’s devastation of Puerto Rico and is vowing a better response. Calling 2017 “historic,” Jeff Byard, FEMA’s associate administrator for …

Supreme Court Nominee Kavanaugh Seen as Business Friend, Regulation Skeptic

Brett Kavanaugh could add a powerful new voice on the Supreme Court to restrain what government agencies can do, ushering in a new era of tougher scrutiny of federal regulations loathed by businesses. In a dozen years on the U.S. …

Hurricane-Proof Home Building Available But Pricey, Slow to Be Adopted

In a private waterfront resort on the northern tip of Key Largo, nestled between tropical forest and the Caribbean, Eric Soulavy is marketing luxury for the age of climate change: Coastal homes that are all but hurricane proof. The Florida-based …

FEMA Looking to Expand Disaster Reinsurance Program

The federal government, seeking to protect itself from the growing cost of natural disasters, is borrowing a technique from the private sector and buying reinsurance. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which started purchasing reinsurance last year for the National Flood …

Cities Still Owed Funds from Last Hurricane Season as New Season Gets Underway

Allen Owen, the mayor of Missouri City, Texas, wants to do more to protect his town from the next disaster. But the city hasn’t gotten any of the roughly $1 million in federal disaster funds he said it’s owed after …