Who’s on (Flooded) First?

Abbott and Costello

Welcome to this official briefing for the owners of flood-damaged homes. I’m Mr. Abbott and this is my deputy, Mr. Costello. We’re with the Combined Recovery Advisory Panel, and we’re here to clearly explain the current situation with regard to where and how rebuilding can proceed in the flood zones.

Now, in order to make this easy to understand, we’re going to use a series of hypothetical homeowners. And to avoid and confusion with real victim-subjects, we’ve given them very unique names.

1. Who owns a yellow-placarded home in the 500-year flood plain.

2. What owns a red-carded home in the 100-year flood plain

3. I don’t know owns a yellow-placarded home in the 100-year flood plain

4. Too early to tell owns a purple-carded home in the 100-year flood plain.

Go ahead with your questions.

“So which homeowner can go ahead, get a permit and start rebuilding now?”

Who.

“What?”

No. They’re on hold, for now.

“Who’s on hold?”

Nope.

“I’m confused. Who can start repairs?”

That’s right.

“What’s right?”

No. They have to wait. Do you understand?

“Uh…I don’t know.”

No, no, no. They need an engineer’s certificate proving they’re at least a foot above the 100-year plain before they seek a permit.

“Wait. Who does?”

No. I don’t know.

“What gives? Aren’t you supposed to be the people in charge?”

Of course. We understand everything. We wrote the rules. It couldn’t be simpler.

“Right. So tell me, which homeowner might be eligible for a federal buyout at some point?”

Clearly, it’s too early to tell.

“Sure, but could you at least make a guess?”

Certainly. Glad to. It’s too early to tell.”

“OK, now I’m getting dizzy. Maybe it’s the heat. I need to know which people can rebuild. And ‘I don’t know’ just isn’t going to cut it, folks.”

Right. They need to be a foot above the plain before they start cutting anything. Who is cleared to build. What’s still being held up. As for buyouts, we still believe it’s too early to tell.

“That’s WHAT I’m ASKING…”

You don’t need to shout.  

“This is outrageous. I quit. Shame on you guys. You just really don’t give a damn.”

Not true. Flood control measures will be discussed at the next briefing, sir.

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