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Reed says flood insurance program needs to change

As we all carefully watch hurricanes rolling up out of the Caribbean, we are reminded that big storms sometimes hit Southern New England, as well. (WJAR)

As we all carefully watch hurricanes rolling up out of the Caribbean, we are reminded that big storms sometimes hit Southern New England, as well.

September is Disaster Preparedness Month and Sen. Jack Reed toured Rhode Island’s Emergency Management Agency Building on Friday with state EMA director Peter Gaynor to talk about preparing for natural disasters.

They both emphasized that while the government does a lot, it needs to improve programs that help protect people.

The rebuilding process after a natural disaster is lengthy and expensive, and federal programs pay for a lot of it.

Reed said the federal flood program can’t keep paying to build in areas that are just going to flood again.

“We do have to make reforms to the program and some of those reforms really rest on not doing what you said, Bill -- not simply building something that was destroyed in a hurricane so it can be destroyed again,” Reed told NBC 10 political reporter Bill Rappleye, “And we’re working to try to build those provisions into the national flood insurance programs.”

He went on to say that emergency planners need to consider not just the places that already get inundated with water, but looking ahead to new areas.

“Localities have to be very sensitive to changing environment -- rising seas, which we’re measuring, (and) weather patterns,” Reed said.

The senator spoke to one effect of these natural disasters.

Congress people have learned that they can’t play politics when Americans are desperate.

Reed noted how Texas representatives, who balked at paying for remediation after the Northeast storm Sandy, changed their tune when Texas was hit by Harvey.

“They quickly realized how important this assistance was needed, and I hope that will carry over into understanding of the common concerns we have as Americans and some sort of action to get things done,” he said.

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