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More than 30,000 US homes have flooded repeatedly, and the worst may be yet to come: 'We have to stop the rinse-and-repeat cycle'

"Essentially, what we are seeing is flooding is increasing faster than we are mitigating our risk."

"Essentially, what we are seeing is flooding is increasing faster than we are mitigating our risk."

Photo Credit: iStock

In recent years, the United States has seen a surge in the frequency of devastating floods. The National Flood Insurance Program currently covers more than 44,000 structures that have sustained flood damage multiple times, all of it paid for by taxpayers, as reported by the Washington Post. 

What's happening?

According to NFIP data, there are 30 properties on its books that have flooded at least 30 times, the Post reported. Of the nearly 5 million properties insured by the program, about 1% accounts for more than 10% of the claims.

Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency has taken steps to mitigate the situation in some areas, such as with buyouts or elevating homes, it hasn't had much of an impact on the issue.

Anna Weber, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told the Post: "Essentially, what we are seeing is flooding is increasing faster than we are mitigating our risk."

According to FEMA assistant administrator and senior executive of NFIP, David Maurstad, the number of properties that have repeatedly flooded surpassed 46,000 last year.

"We have to stop the rinse-and-repeat cycle on repetitive loss," Maurstad said.

Why is the cycle of repeated flooding important?

Study after study indicates that flooding will only continue to get worse as the planet continues to warm, especially for those living near rivers or the coast, because of erratic rain patterns and rising sea levels.

Although a large number of those covered by the NFIP are working class, according to the Post, the program covers property owners from all economic backgrounds. As flooding has progressively gotten worse, it's caused the program to make some changes that could hurt many of those who need help the most. A new pricing system implemented by FEMA has lowered costs for some but made it spike for others in high-risk areas.

What's being done about it?

Per the Post, FEMA submitted a list of proposals to Congress in 2022, one of which would end coverage for certain properties that repeatedly flood.

As for the larger issue of the warming planet, there are multiple government programs looking to reverse that trend on a large scale, like incentives to buy electric vehicles and helping school districts around the country replace their current buses with electric ones.

On a smaller but meaningful level, people can help with the problem by doing something as simple as unplugging devices when they're not being used.

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