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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Review of the Post-Disaster Relocation and Reconstruction , Report No. 95-35, February 1996

  • Hurricanes have inflicted heavy damage to Florida in the 1990s. Hurricane Andrew caused an estimated $20 billion in property damage and Hurricane Opal $2 billion. However, government-sponsored relocation of coastal structures is not an economically viable policy for reducing hurricane-related property losses.
  • Almost all coastal structures built to Department of Environmental Protection siting and construction standards survived Hurricane Opal. In contrast, almost half of the coastal structures not built to these standards were damaged or destroyed.
  • Although local governments make land use and zoning decisions that affect coastal property losses, state and federal governments have assumed most of the financial responsibility for disaster recovery. From 1992 - 1995 the state will have spent over $611 million in local disaster assistance to restore damaged infrastructure and remove debris. State law requires local governments in coastal areas to adopt post-disaster redevelopment plans; however, it is not known how many local governments have fulfilled this obligation.
  • To reduce the future risk of hurricane damage to coastal properties the state should:
  • Continue to use Coastal Construction Control Line siting and construction standards;
  • Specify criteria and submission dates for local government post-disaster redevelopment plans;
  • Link federal funds to local government implementation of long-term hazard mitigation measures; and
  • Make local government adoption of a post-disaster redevelopment plan by a specific date a prerequisite when the Legislature elects to pay local government costs associated with Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster assistance.

    Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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