Risk has a always been a reality in beach living. When you put your money into property that is on sand and housing that frankly is alien to the lay of the land, particularly in modern times, things often go wrong. Even worse, when the primary purpose of those units is not for family enjoyment, but primarily as a wealth generating asset, it is risk that plays a lot of the reason for the massive increase in property values. When that happens, what follows? Well, the local guy who has held inherited family property for years and own a modest beach home will soon find himself unable to afford to keep the home he loves. Why? Because the massive influx of Mcmansions and other large structures in record numbers raises the land value and assessments dramatically and the local fellow has to sell out because he can't afford the taxes. And even if he could handle that, he often owns it free and clear and he finds himself only able to keep it by not paying for a hefty general insurance policy. Even if he has a "hurricane policy," it doesn't cover flood insurance to cover water damage. So, regardless of being in a flood zone or not, an owner without flood insurance on the stormy Atlantic coast is playing with fire. And the game is one of major risk and a bet in his mind that he won't need it.
So, don't be too hard on FEMA, for the organization's primary purpose is to provide shelter and support in the immediate critical times after the storm passes. Things like temporary shelter and food and water are the agency's primary purpose, not rebuilding a permanent structure although they do often find a way to offer long term loans. And then again, the flood insurance program is theirs, offering insurance at lower than retail rates for those who need it, but it's not free nor should it be. Unfortunately, risk is something required of the citizen who wants to live on the beach, not something assumed by FEMA.
This blog isn't written out of lack of compassion, for I myself have been left in a tough situation before after a bad storm, but my point is that life and our responsibility for it is really our own, not the government's. In years gone by, all Americans recognized that and acted accordingly. Townspeople in places like Ocracoke came together to help everyone get back on track and charities back then were voluntary. But Americans today, and I think sadly, think so much is supposed to be provided by government and charities accordingly don't have the funds they used to since we all see the government almost like a charitable tithe. After all, when the combination of all government taxes at all levels results in so many paying out more in taxes than we take home, who can blame us. Admittedly, there is much we can blame on government, but this should really not be one. It's only gotten this way since politicians decided it is easier to promise and get elected than it is to tell the truth and lose the election. Perhaps we all just need to look inwardly for what the real problem is, for we ourselves are a huge part of it.