Memphis is among several cities along the Mississippi River that will offer aid to areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew, noting that weather events have caused $10 billion in damage to Mississippi River towns this year so far.
Mayors involved in the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative (MRCTI) announced Wednesday that they will offer mutual aid to those communities.
“As mayors of cities along the Mississippi River, the Hurricane Matthew devastation hits home for us,” said Belinda Constant, mayor of Gretna, La. and a co-chair of MRCTI. “Our ‘coasts’ have many of the same vulnerabilities. In fact, within just the past 10 months, cities and towns on the Mississippi experienced record flooding and record heat at a prolonged level.”
Memphis joined six other cities Wednesday in pledging aid to Matthew victims. Those cities include, St. Paul, Minn.; La Crosse, Wis.; Davenport, Iowa; Bettendorf, Iowa; St. Louis, Mo.; and Gretna, La.
has asked city officials to define what resources Memphis is offering.
“Since January of this year, the Mississippi River Valley has sustained numerous environmental and weather-related events that have incurred costs up to $10 billion,” said Chris Coleman, Mayor of Saint Paul, Minn. and MRCTI co-chair. “These occurrences are becoming more and more frequent, and the costs continue to escalate. As we adjust to this ‘new normal,’ we believe that we can find ways to better mitigate these disasters.”
One of those ways, according to the MRCTI, is for FEMA make resources available on a regional level, instead of on a state-by-state basis. MRCTI said regions, like the Mississippi River Valley, could better plan for disasters before they happen.
So, MRCTI members once again urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to rethink its pre-disaster mitigation program.
“We are approaching disaster resilience from a ‘natural process’ point of view by giving the river room to ebb and flow as well as absorbing risk on-site instead of pushing more water down river to the next city,” said Davenport, Iowa mayor Frank Klipsch.