Hurricane Ida's landfall in Louisiana August 29 left at least 62 dead, more than one million without power, and hundreds needing rescue—horrifying measures of devastation, to be sure, as they played across our screens—yet it's easy for onlookers across the country to forget this is a too-common sight.
Louisiana and its neighbors have been hammered by storm after storm, with a total of five storms just last year, including one as powerful as Hurricane Ida, all while dealing with a devastating COVID-19 outbreak. And with many seeking public shelter, there is danger the COVID-19 pandemic will only intensify in Ida's aftermath. Communities in the region can't catch their breath.
“Building back better”—and faster—would help mitigate the effects of this cycle of disaster. President Joe Biden's campaign adopted the phrase as a slogan, but building back better has a 20+ year history that predates the current presidency.
The remainder of this commentary is available at cnn.com.
Jay Balagna is an assistant policy researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation and a Ph.D. student at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Aaron Clark-Ginsberg is a social scientist at RAND.
This commentary originally appeared on CNN on September 10, 2021. Commentary gives RAND researchers a platform to convey insights based on their professional expertise and often on their peer-reviewed research and analysis.