Giving Compass' Take:
- Rachel DuRose explains how climate risks are causing insurance rates to rise across the globe, noting that no place is safe from disaster.
- How can donors support climate resilient infrastructure to mitigate the impacts of natural disasters?
- Learn more about climate risk in the world's poorest countries.
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An estimated 11 million people across the northeastern US are under flood risks or warnings this week after historic levels of rainfall — 1-in-1,000-year events — swept through New England, with rivers in Vermont and New York’s Hudson Valley overflowing and turning town streets into waterways.
Flash flooding killed at least one person in New York, and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul confirmed several more people are missing. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Vermont, where, according to Gov. Phil Scott, thousands of residents have lost their homes and businesses.
The Winooski River, which runs through Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, rose above its normal level of below 11 feet to a height of about 20 feet. This is the second-highest height on record for the river, only falling behind Vermont’s “greatest natural disaster,” a 1927 flood that killed 84 people.
Hurricane Sandy killed 72 people across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, including 44 New York City residents. While residents in Vermont lost power during Sandy, it was the hurricane the year prior, Irene, which devastated the state, destroying 2,400 roads, 800 homes and businesses, and 300 bridges.
Learning from Irene over a decade ago, Vermont knew it did not have the resources alone to handle its current flash floods, and called in aid from North Carolina, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Connecticut before the storm struck. The region’s lack of preparedness for these extreme events also makes sense when taking into consideration the area’s history with natural disasters.
Vermont was once considered one of the most natural disaster-resistant states in the country, and a local Vermont news station reported people were moving to the state for the purpose of avoiding worsening wildfires, droughts, and floods elsewhere in the US. “Vermont is one of the few places in the world that is likely to get more habitable,” Chris Koliba, a professor of community development and applied economics at the University of Vermont, told Boston’s NPR news station, WBUR, in 2021.
Read the full article about climate risk and insurance rates by Rachel DuRose at Vox.