Rep. Bell: "Here’s how NC can make itself a model for flood resilience"
Raleigh, NC – The News & Observer published an op-ed on Friday, October 8th, from House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne) and Melissa Roberts, founder and executive director of the American Flood Coalition, on the five year anniversary of Hurricane Matthew and the bipartisan efforts underway in the state budget to make North Carolina more resilient before the next disaster.
Below are excerpts. Read the full op-ed here.
Five years ago on Oct. 8, Hurricane Matthew pounded North Carolina, killing 25 people and upending the lives of thousands. Unfortunately, Matthew wasn’t an anomaly.
In three of the past five years, a major hurricane has hit North Carolina. Though these storms may briefly make headlines, the communities affected face a much longer recovery.
That’s why we’re pushing for historic investments through the state budget in risk assessment, planning, projects and support to local communities to prepare for flood disasters in the future.
This would be North Carolina’s largest statewide investment to address flooding, and we’re excited that the N.C. House led on the inclusion of resilience as a budget priority.
To deal with such wide-reaching impacts, communities must have a plan for protecting properties. The state budget includes a flood resilience blueprint, which would identify and prioritize projects for our most at-risk watersheds, like those in the Neuse River Basin, and provide communities with information to make decisions.
Once communities understand their risk, they need funding for smart investments. Unfortunately, the areas hit hardest by flooding, as was the case with Matthew, are often communities without means to prepare for or recover from such events.
Fortunately, the state has resources to jump-start recoveries and rebuild better and stronger after disasters thanks to responsible budgeting by the state legislature over the past decade.
Five years ago, Hurricane Matthew exposed the critical need for a comprehensive strategy to address flooding and make the state more resilient before the next disaster. We’re confident that, with the state’s investment in resilience, North Carolina can lead the way on flood resilience and be a model for the rest of the country. Together we can create a more resilient, secure, and prosperous future for North Carolina.