With wildfires, floods and other weather-related disasters steadily worsening, President Biden doubled the budget for communities trying to mitigate the destruction through preparation. The added $500 million will make for a total of $1 billion in a Federal Emergency Management Agency program that distributes money to do things like move homes at risk of flooding and build seawalls, the New York Times reports. The president made the announcement at FEMA's offices, where he received a briefing on the coming hurricane season, per CNBC. "Now is the time to get ready for the busiest time of the year for disasters in America—hurricane season in the South and East, and the fire season out West," Biden said afterward.
Last year, the White House reported, 22 weather and climate-related disasters caused more than $1 billion each in damage. Total damage approached $100 billion. Biden also announced a NASA effort to gather better data to show how the climate is changing and what the effect is on communities. The government's formula would have allowed for putting $10 billion into the FEMA program. "We can never be too prepared," Biden said. Craig Fugate, who ran the agency under President Obama, called $1 billion "a huge number for predisaster mitigation" and "a good start." Daniel Kaniewski, a FEMA deputy under President Trump, said a broad effort will be required to minimize the toll. "It will take investment from all levels of government, the private sector, and each of us individually to mitigate the risks," he said. (More FEMA stories.)