Devastating flash floods struck Eastern Kentucky last month, leaving at least 37 dead and many more missing. The floods occurred just months after the state was roiled by an outbreak of tornadoes that killed 74 and just after St. Louis experienced its own record-breaking, deadly floods. With extreme weather events occurring more frequently and with greater intensity, the U.S. disaster-recovery framework is not equipped to handle the rising need. Congress could do more to improve the system, says Julian Zelizer. Permanently authorizing the disaster recovery grant program would help, though efforts should be made to build in sustainable funding and accountability mechanisms.
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