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Report finds nearly all counties in U.S. have experienced a climate disaster over the last decade

Tropical Storm Nicole nears Hurricane Strength with vehicles go through roads that are flooded in the Palm Beach area. According to a new report on Wednesday, 90% of all counties in the U.S. have experienced a weather disaster over the last decade. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI
Tropical Storm Nicole nears Hurricane Strength with vehicles go through roads that are flooded in the Palm Beach area. According to a new report on Wednesday, 90% of all counties in the U.S. have experienced a weather disaster over the last decade. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Ninety percent of counties in the U.S. have experienced a climate disaster over the past decade, as the federal disaster relief system remains underfunded and inefficient, according to a new report from climate adaptation group Rebuild by Design.

The study, called "Atlas of Disaster," analyzed a decade of federal spending to determine which areas have been hit the hardest by climate change. The report said that climate-fueled disasters over the last decade have caused more than $740 billion on damages.

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"The current process by which federal disasters are declared - and money allocated- represents a time when climate disasters were anomalies," the report said. "The United States needs to catch up to the current reality and rethink how to shift resources to prepare communities before there is human suffering and physical, economic and social harm to communities."

Nine out of 10 counties experienced a flood, fire, windstorm, or other disaster severe enough to merit federal assistance between 2011 and 2021. Five counties in Louisiana and Kentucky have had the highest occurrences of disasters.

California had 25 federal disaster declarations, the highest number in the country, while Nevada had the least.

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As a result of these disasters, the federal government has had to spend a large amount of money repairing areas that have suffered. According to the report, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Housing and Urban Development have spent $91 billion in post-disaster assistance. Louisiana also leads the way in that category, with $1,736 per capita of federally declared disasters.

The report also suggests that flood damages alone could cost the U.S. another $72 billion over the next 10 years.

In addition to addressing the climate crisis, the report also suggests that $573 billion could be raised through a small surcharge on certain types of property and casualty insurance.

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