The Future of FEMA After a Year of Disasters

The Takeaway

After Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, and massive wildfires out west, we look at the future of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) following one of its most challenging years ever. Here’s what you’ll find in this special podcast episode:

  • Brock Long, the administrator of FEMA, says a lot has changed about the agency since Hurricane Katrina. He explains how FEMA’s mission has shifted in recent years, and what its primary focus is now.
  • As the U.S. Virgin Islands struggles to clean up the wreckage from Hurricanes Maria and Irma, there’s a debate about how best to dispose of the mountains of debris left in the storms’ wake. Judith Enck, former U.S. EPA regional administrator for New York State, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, explains.
  • It’s been four months since Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, and some of the Gulf’s most vulnerable residents are making the hard choice to leave their homes behind and start new lives in new cities. Courtney Collins is the lead reporter for KERA’s “One Crisis Away” project. She’s been following some of these families as they resettle in North Texas, and shares her reporting today on The Takeaway.
  • Justin Wood is a mixed media artist who lives in the Florida Keys. Though his life and community were disrupted by hurricanes this year, he also saw it as an opportunity to send a message about destruction. Here, he discusses his projection mapping art project.
  • While many Puerto Rican residents are still trying to secure food and clean water, businesses on the island are facing existential crises. Puerto Rico’s dairy industry is facing an uphill climb toward normalcy as the continued lack of electricity makes day-to-day business a challenge. Lizzie O’Leary, host of Marketplace Weekend, explains.
  • California is still reeling from one of the deadliest fire seasons in the state’s history. From Santa Barbara to Napa, residents across the Golden State have faced staggering losses. Kenneth Klein is a law professor at California Western School of Law and a legal expert on natural disasters. He explains what steps citizens need to take as they begin to cope with the long-term consequences of the 2017 fire season.

This episode is hosted by Todd Zwillich

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