In 2021, tornadoes ripped through western Kentucky causing mass destruction and carnage. Homes and businesses were left in ruin, and families scrambled to find food and shelter. In total, 57 people lost their lives, more than 500 were injured, and over 30,000 were affected.
While nothing could bring back those we lost, I watched as the community banded together to help each other. Folks shared what they could and neighbors opened their homes to those in need. Some of my friends and I with restaurant experience set up food tents to serve hot meals to those in need.
However, no community can rely solely on the kindness of individuals in the face of a $3 billion natural disaster. Being prepared and investing before a natural disaster strikes is what protects most livelihoods, helps more local businesses stay open, and ensures families will be able to rebuild as quickly as possible.
That is why we need a nationwide resilience strategy, guided by input from local governments, state agencies and the public.
Currently, 17 different agencies are responsible for the federal government’s resilience efforts, each agency with a different, and often overlapping, aspect of disaster preparedness. The lack of coordination and the redundant responsibilities leads to a slowed-down response, duplicated spending in some areas, and a lack of resources in others.
Although we’re still recovering from the aftermath of the 2021 tornadoes, we know the next disaster is on its way. I urge our Congressional leaders to take decisive action to streamline our resilience and preparedness for future natural disasters. The next tornado, flood or severe storm is coming; let’s make sure federal agencies are ready to respond.
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