BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — How the state responds and prepares for future disasters is something that crosses political boundaries and district lines. Lawmakers and agency leaders are looking to get plans together to stay a step ahead with the Louisiana Resilience Task Force.
Being called resilient is not something many in Louisiana care to hear when they’re in the middle of disaster recovery. Residents up and down the coast and all the way to the northern border know what it’s like to pick up the pieces after a storm rolls through.
“We know our people are resilient and strong and so forth. But if we can, let’s create a situation where we’re calling on that resilience less often,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said.
The goal of the Resilience Task Force is to bring together agencies from coastal protections, family services, higher education, infrastructure and more to find all angles to prepare for disasters.
“The future we want is one where we’re devising new projects, new programs, new ways of serving people and interacting with our community so that our time, energy and resources are spent making the state stronger, healthier and just a better place to live and to do business rather than one where we are always recovering from the last disaster,” Edwards said.
The task force aims to work into the new administration as Edwards’ term comes to a close in just about two months. Several members of the task force will be leaving with Edwards as well but it is assumed their replacements would join up.
“Even though obviously my term is coming to an end, the essential work of government never stops, and building resilience is absolutely essential,” Edwards said.
The main objectives for the first year of the task force is to recommend policies and get grants to address the insurance crisis, deal with extreme heat events, and migration in the state. Louisiana has the third highest total costs from federally declared billion dollar disasters but is one of the poorest.
“Social, economic and environmental conditions contributing to our vulnerability makes it even more difficult and important for us to adapt in this world of increasing disaster, severity and frequency,” Chief Resilience Officer Charles Sutcliffe said.
The task force has local and statewide partners in all corners of the state as tornadoes, floods, fires, and hurricanes are impacting more and more people. They will release an official report with legislation recommendations in the new year.
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