Harris to announce $1B to states for floods, extreme heat

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is providing more than $1 billion to states to tackle extreme heat caused by flooding and climate change.

Vice President Kamala Harris is set to announce grant programs with the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other officials at an event in Miami on Monday. The competitive grant will help communities across the country prepare for and respond to climate-related disasters.

“We know the effects of the climate crisis are here, and we must invest in building resilience to protect our communities, infrastructure and economy,” the White House said in a statement.

The announcement comes as the death toll from Sunday’s severe flooding continues to rise amid a new threat of heavy rain in Kentucky. In the west, wildfires in California and Montana exploded in size amid windy, warmer conditions, encroaching on neighborhoods and evacuation orders.

Several western states continued to hold heat advisories amid prolonged droughts that dried up reservoirs and threatened communities across the region.

Harris will visit the National Hurricane Center for a briefing by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and FEMA. She will also visit Florida International University, where she is expected to address extreme weather events across the country, including floods in Kentucky and Missouri and wildfires in California.

President Joe Biden announced last month that the administration would spend $2.3 billion to help communities cope with rising temperatures through programs administered by FEMA, the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies. The move doubles spending on the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities, or BRIC, program to help states, local communities, tribes and regions reduce climate-related hazards and prepare for natural disasters such as floods and wildfires. Supports projects.

“Communities across our country are experiencing for the first time the devastating effects of climate change and associated extreme weather events – more active storms with deadly storms, increased flooding and a wildfire season that threatens a year FEMA Head Dean Criswell said.

Criswell said the funds to be announced Monday will “help ensure that our most vulnerable communities are not left behind, with hundreds of millions of dollars ultimately going directly to the communities that need it most,” Criswell said.

Officials said a total of $1 billion would be made available through the BRIC program, while another $160 million would be made available for flood mitigation assistance.

Jacksonville, Florida, is one of the cities that received funding under the BRIC program last year. The city was awarded $23 million for flood mitigation and stormwater infrastructure. Jacksonville, Florida’s largest city, is located in a humid, subtropical region along the St. John’s River and the Atlantic Ocean, making stormwater basins vulnerable to flooding when they reach capacity. The city experiences frequent flooding and the risk of major storms increases.

The South Florida Water Management District in Miami-Dade County received $50 million for flood mitigation and pump station repairs. Real estate development along the city’s fast-moving waterfront has created a high-risk flood zone for communities in the city and put pressure on existing systems, making repairs to existing structures an urgent need, officials said.

The Biden administration has launched a number of actions aimed at reducing heat-related illness and protecting public health, including a proposed workplace heat standard.

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