Catastrophic flooding in South Carolina during the past several days has claimed multiple lives and prompted President Obama to declare a major disaster in the State of South Carolina and order federal aid to supplement local recovery efforts. The Charleston, SC, metropolitan region is one of four American communities working closely with the Resilient America Roundtable to build resilience to such disasters.
“For the Charleston region, any loss of life is too much,” said Resilient America Roundtable Director Lauren Alexander Augustine. “The extent of the flood’s impact isn’t yet clear, and we hope that when the floodwaters recede, damage will not be as bad as feared. We also hope to channel energy around this flood into efforts that increase flood resilience in Charleston and other flood-prone communities.”
Meetings, workshops, and discussions with community groups in Charleston have identified some key priorities for building resilience in the area, including:
— measuring both flood risk and resilience to flooding;
— linking flood resilience, infrastructure, and economic growth in the community;
— improving communication about risk, perhaps through public art;
— rethinking the role of flood insurance in building resilience; and
— learning from other communities about ways to improve flood resilience.
The Resilient America Roundtable’s work builds upon the recommendations in a 2012 National Research Council report, Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, which identifies strategic steps the United States can take to reduce impacts on the nation’s communities from natural and human-induced disasters.
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