FEMA Florida Keys vs. Louisianaby Jackson on 05/16/11
For the last decade or more FEMA and our county government in the Florida Keys have been locked in a battle. Many stilt homes in the Keys have livable downstairs’ enclosures most often rented to workforce folks that cannot afford their own abode. Until recently the county has looked the other way on this issue. Now FEMA demands that all livable downstairs enclosures be destroyed or they will take away FEMA flood insurance for all. The irony of FEMA’s demand is they don’t cover insurance at the ground level. DUH!
Now let’s look at Louisiana. As the floodwaters roll down the mighty Mississippi, we are opening flood spillways that will destroy thousands of rural acres to save urban areas. Folks that lived in these areas knew about the potential to open these gates and destroy what they own, but do they have FEMA flood insurance? Who will reimburse them for their loss? Was flood insurance a requirement for the Louisiana folks who had mortgages? The farmers are also facing the issue of crop insurance. At the present time it appears the government’s position is: if no flood insurance, sorry.
Just because it will ultimately be a government decision to flood one area in order to save Baton Rouge and New Orleans from extensive damages does not mean flooded homes without FEMA flood insurance will be covered. Is it a natural disaster or a manmade one?
Under federal law, only homeowners with federally backed mortgages and living in high-risk areas (1 percent chance of flooding every year and 26 percent chance during the life of a 30-year mortgage) are required to buy flood insurance. People in moderate to low-risk areas are not.
There is presently legislation in Congress to tighten the FEMA flood insurance program. But, there is an upcoming election. Stay tuned.