NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - A $48 million federal grant has been allocated to resettle people living on the flood-prone Isle de Jean Charles in Louisiana. The resettlement will be the first time federal tax dollars will be used to move an entire community struggling with what is blamed on climate change.
But the cost is high. That $48 million grant will only be spent on relocating about 60 people. And the resettlement could take years to complete.
A road leading to the island, which has been home to the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians for more than 150 years, often floods, cutting residents off from the mainland.
The tribe says it has lost 98 percent of its land to rising sea levels, coastal erosion and flooding since the 1950s.
A tribal chief, scientists and public officials have implored the residents for nearly a decade to relocate inland as the Gulf of Mexico gets closer every year.
Environmental degradation and erosion of coastal areas has threatened many of the residents' ability to fish and farm.
According to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development release about a $1 Billion national disaster resilience competition grant: "The State of Louisiana will receive $92,629,249 in NDRC funding to support its Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments Program (LA SAFE). LA SAFE seeks to protect coastal wetlands in and around southeast Louisiana, retrofit communities to withstand increased flooding risk, and reshape high-ground areas to maximize their use and safety. The NDRC funds will also enable a tribal community on the Isle de Jean Charles, which has experienced a 98 percent loss of land to 1955, to relocate to a resilient and historically-contextual community."
A location for the new community has not been selected, according to a New York Times report.