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Devastation from Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Florida, Oct. 12, 2018. Residents whose homes have suffered major damage in multiple storms could eventually be offered buyouts, but the process can take several years. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Government-funded buyouts after disasters are slow and inequitable – here’s how that could change

Government agencies spend millions of dollars yearly to buy and demolish homes sited in floodplains. But the program is slow, cumbersome and doesn't always help those who need it most.
Hurricane Maria denuded forests in Puerto Rico, revealing once-hidden homes and communities. A graffiti-sprayed saying is now popping up across the island, noting that “Behind the trees live people.” Lucas Jackson/Reuters

I’m a librarian in Puerto Rico, and this is my Hurricane Maria survival story

A Puerto Rican librarian with a personal relationship to hurricanes describes the brutal reality of life on this Caribbean island more than a month after Maria and Irma left their mark.
Two people walk down a flooded section of Interstate 610 in Houston in floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

Americans who live far from coasts should also be worried about flooding

As Hurricane Harvey shows, flooding can happen wherever large storms stall and dumps lots of rain. A new study finds that development is increasing in flood zones inland, where people may not think they are at risk.

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