Guam – The U.S. House this week is considering a second traunch of disaster aid for hurricane Sandy victims and the the bill may have future implications for storm victims in the islands.
The sandy bill calls for recommendations from the head of FEMA within six-months, to reduce future disaster costs.
HEAR Matt Kaye’s report HERE>>>01-15 sandybillstormstrat.mp3
It comes at a time of increasing austerity efforts by a GOP controlled House, doing regular battle with a democrat-run Senate on just about everything with a price tag.
Former Interior Department official and now GOP consultant to the islands, Fred Radewagen, says there’s room for concern.
RADEWAGEN: “I would be concerned if a report would have an across-the-board solution, one-size-fits all, that would include the islands, in the same sort of a solution for the mainland because, you do have some fixed costs out there, that really can’t be reduced.”
Especially transportation for emergency relief and rebuilding and economies of scale are much different in the islands, than say, in Manhattan or New Jersey.
RADEWAGEN: “Even if you leveled every building on an island, the cost of reconstruction would be fractional, compared to what a storm like a super-storm like Sandy would do to, when it hits Northern New Jersey or Manhattan.”
So Radewagen hopes any new national storm strategy would take into account the special circumstance of the islands which he points out, have been hardening facilities against storms for years.
And the islands traditionally don’t need supplemental disaster bills like the states, but only aid from disaster loan and grant programs already on the books.
But Radewagen says now is a time for the islands to be vigilant, with a perfect ‘budget’ storm developing in Washington.
RADEWAGEN: “In a word, ‘vigilance.’ it’s important for all of the islands to be very watchful of everything that’s going on in congress and, it’s important for the islands to work together, and for island governments to work with their Washington representation.”
RADEWAGEN: says “Petty squabbles” and “mixed signals” from the islands, have to end in this era of austerity, when he concludes, there is “no margin for error.”