Se espera que la oleada del huracán Florence golpee casas que ya le costaron al gobierno millones

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Se espera que la oleada del huracán Florence golpee casas que ya le costaron al gobierno millones

Aunque se pronostica que las inundaciones del huracán Florence no tendrán precedentes, los residentes de las ciudades costeras de Carolina del Norte amenazados por la marea de tormentas saben lo que es tomar agua. Algunas casas en estas áreas han sido inundadas repetidamente y rescatadas repetidas veces por un seguro federal contra inundaciones.

ProPublica examinó las predicciones de mareas de tempestad del Centro Nacional de Huracanes, superponiendo un mapa de áreas que se espera sean afectadas por Florencia sobre un mapa de las propiedades más propensas a inundaciones rastreadas por la Agencia Federal de Manejo de Emergencias, que proporciona la mayor parte del seguro contra inundaciones para propietarios estadounidenses .

Los críticos han argumentado durante mucho tiempo que el programa subsidia el desarrollo arriesgado, pero los esfuerzos de reforma inevitablemente se estancan porque el aumento de las primas haría que el seguro contra inundaciones no sea asequible para los residentes de bajos ingresos. El seguro es obligatorio para las hipotecas con respaldo federal de viviendas en áreas propensas a inundaciones. El programa tiene más de $ 20 mil millones en deuda.

Al mirar algunas de las ciudades, es fácil ver por qué.

Las áreas de alto riesgo incluyen comunidades a lo largo del río Pamlico y North Topsail Beach, que se encuentra en una isla barrera cerca de Wilmington. Las casas allí han recibido múltiples pagos de inundaciones del Programa Nacional de Seguros contra Inundaciones de FEMA desde 1978. Una propiedad en North Topsail Beach ha recibido nueve pagos por separado, por un total de $ 77,000, aunque el edificio vale solo $ 37,125. Otro en la cercana playa de Topsail ha recibido pagos 10 por valor de $ 467,000. Ese edificio vale $ 300,000.

FEMA coloca edificios como estos, incluido 1,132 en Carolina del Norte, en una lista especial llamada estructuras de "pérdida repetitiva severa" porque se han inundado y reconstruido una y otra vez con el seguro contra inundaciones de FEMA. Las propiedades que califican para la lista han realizado al menos cuatro reclamos de más de $ 5,000 cada uno desde 1978, o dos reclamos con un valor combinado que vale más que el edificio en sí. Hay más de 35,000 tales propiedades en todo el país.

Colectivamente, los edificios en Carolina del Norte valen al menos $ 280 millones, y han recibido $ 164 millones en pagos, según datos de FEMA proporcionados por el Consejo de Defensa de Recursos Naturales, un grupo de defensa del medio ambiente. La lista, sin duda, crecerá después del huracán Florence, lo que ejercerá una presión adicional sobre un programa cargado de deudas que los expertos dicen que necesitan desesperadamente de una reforma.

Las áreas que enfrentan el peor impacto del huracán Florence se encuentran entre las más vulnerables del país en lo que respecta al aumento del nivel del mar; partes de North Topsail Beach, por ejemplo, se están erosionando en Pies 5 por año. Y un equipo de científicos concluyó el miércoles que el cambio climático había sobrealimentado la tormenta - aumentando su precipitación proyectada en aproximadamente un 50 por ciento y su tamaño en 50 millas.

Rob Moore, un analista de políticas senior en el Consejo de Defensa de los Recursos Naturales, dijo que estas casas son "ejemplos perfectos de lo que veremos a medida que los niveles del mar continúen aumentando".

Carolina del Norte tiene una historia difícil de enfrentar el aumento del nivel del mar. En 2012, después de que los asesores científicos del estado predijeron hasta 39 pulgadas de aumento del nivel del mar durante el próximo siglo, los legisladores estatales aprobó una ley diciendo que Carolina del Norte solo basaría las políticas en estudios que usan exclusivamente datos históricos, prohibiendo de hecho la ciencia del clima. El actual gobernador ha retrocedido, y Carolina del Norte ha se unió a un esfuerzo multiestatal para hacer frente al cambio climático.

Moore dijo que el gobierno debería financiar más adquisiciones de propiedades para eliminar permanentemente las viviendas de las áreas de riesgo. En todo el país, la mayoría de los hogares de la lista pertenecen a residentes de bajos ingresos y de clase media, dijo, y como las adquisiciones a menudo tardan años en procesarse, la mayoría de los propietarios no pueden esperar y se ven obligados a utilizar reclamos de seguros para reconstruir. en el mismo lugar.

El lento huracán se extenderá sobre las Carolinas durante el fin de semana.

Este artículo apareció originalmente en ProPublica

Sobre el Autor

Lisa Song informa sobre el medio ambiente, la energía y el cambio climático. Se unió a ProPublica en 2017 después de seis años en InsideClimate News, donde cubrió la ciencia del clima y la salud ambiental.

Al Shaw es un desarrollador de aplicaciones de noticias en ProPublica. Igual diseñador de partes, desarrollador y reportero, utiliza datos y gráficos interactivos para cubrir problemas ambientales, desastres naturales y política.

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