FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, a neighborhood near Addicks Reservoir is flooded by rain from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston. A new study finds that FEMA buys flood-prone homes more often in wealthy, populous counties than in poor, rural areas, even though lower-income rural areas may be more likely to flood frequently. Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, which, according to its flood control district, undergoes a major flood about every two years, has used FEMA’s buyout programs more than any other county, the researchers said. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Wealthy counties get many FEMA buyouts of flood-prone homes

October 09, 2019 - 2:26 pm

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A new study finds that FEMA buys flood-prone homes more often in wealthy, populous counties than in poor, rural areas, even though lower-income rural areas may be more likely to flood.

Researchers from Florida, Delaware and California say this is probably because better-off local governments are better at applying for and administering the programs. They say that could keep people who most need buyouts from getting them.

The study was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

A FEMA official says state and local governments decide where buyouts occur.

The study says about one-third of U.S. counties and cities have used buyouts, most of them small.

A researcher says that as climate change raises flood risks, there will be more need to move people and property out of danger.

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