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FEMA Money Stretched Thin, Prioritizing Infrastructure Vital in Natural Disaster Preparation: Today on Here and Now

1:06pm: FEMA is running out of cash. The agency has suspended cash payments to tornado ravaged areas like Birmingham and Joplin... so it can spend money on Hurricane Irene relief. But there’s going to have to be more money and that means the Obama administration will need to go to Congress. We’ll get an update.1:12pm Hurricane Irene wasn't as bad as predicted, but today is the sixth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. How prepared are we for disasters? We'll ask Cornell University engineering professor Thomas O'Rourke, who is an expert on the effects of natural disasters on infrastructure. O'Rourke says megadisasters are the "new normal" and not enough critical thinking is taking place ahead of time to decide what top infrastructure priorities are before what he calls "low probability high consequence events" like big storms.1:20pm And here’s an unintended consequence to a human-made disaster: Archaeologists traveling with BP workers working to clear the oil from beaches along the Gulf Coast have discovered 60 new archaeological sites in Louisiana alone, and artifacts from these sites are shedding new light on the complexity of Native American civilizations that lived along the Gulf as far back as 15,000 years ago.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.