Pathologies of the National Flood Insurance Program 1

In the midst of what looks to be an active hurricane season, Congress is set to vote on a measure that would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which expires on September 30th. For these reasons, now is a good time for a refresher on NFIP, with all of its problems.

With the reauthorization vote on the horizon, I wrote a short piece, published at The Washington Post, which lays out in short form some of the key problems with NFIP, and how the NFIP actually exacerbates flood risk. You can read the piece here.

In a companion piece published a few months ago in LSE’s US Centre blog on American Politics and Policy, I explain how the politics of the program make it very difficult to reform. You can read this article here.

If you’re really interested, you can read the long-form academic article I wrote on this topic:
Strother, Logan. “The National Flood Insurance Program: A Case Study in Policy Failure, Reform, and Retrenchment.” Policy Studies Journal. Early access: DOI: 10.1111/psj.12189

Reading Around the Internet: October 20, 2014

Last week was fall break at Southeast Missouri State. I had a lovely, relaxing long weekend but went back to work today… Here’s some reading I was doing over the weekend to catch up on happenings in the world of disasters, property and politics:


So a couple of things about Ebola: first, unless you come into contact with bodily fluids when that person is symptomatic, you’re not going to “catch” Ebola…   And, stories and images about the disease that spread false information — and even ones that don’t — can make a crisis situation worse. See Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne’s great piece on this in the Washington Post. In fact, keep an eye out for Laura Seay and Kim Yi Dionne’s coverage on this. They are very knowledgeable about African politics in general, and have been doing a great job analyzing this situation. And the disease is certainly being politicized, making it important to pay attention not just to how the disease spreads but what politicians are doing with it (especially as we get closer to the election here n the US).

Here’s the thing, though — there are real people suffering a true calamity, and help can be had. To learn more about Ebola and see past the terrifying voices that are out in the world scaring us, to see the reality of the disease and understand better the situation as it plays out in everyday life, take a look at Ebola Diaries. It will wrench your heart, but you will have a better understanding of this disease and the challenges it poses.


In the Pacific, Hawai’i is being hit again with heavy rain and high surf thanks to Hurricane Ana. Meanwhile, in the Atlantic Hurricane Gonzalo made its way to Bermuda. Though hurricane season has been a fairly slow and low intensity this year so far (with Hawai’i seeing more than it usually does of this activity), we should expect more storms. For the rest of us, forecasters say that we should expect an unusually wet winter this year.

Colorado Flood Recovery

A couple of weeks ago, Governor Hickenlooper issued a flood recovery report in Colorado. Here’s a summary, and here’s a link to the website where you can review the report itself.

Disaster Mitigation: Floodplains

My emergency management students have been learning about mitigation the last couple of weeks. It occurs to me that there are readers out there who may want to know more about FEMA’s floodplain (in particular) mitigation program since there’s been a lot of discussion of mitigation in coastal and river/lakefront areas. Here’s a link to their website.  You may find this page interesting and worth looking around. It can provide you with a broader sense of the goals and aspirations of the National Prevention Framework, which I think deserves more attention than it’s gotten — and will get some attention here sometime during the winter.