What if Hurricane Katrina had hit during a pandemic? Emergency planners can prepare for this scenario by evaluating current response system capacity, evacuation and sheltering procedures, food and supply issues, and more.
Salary raises have a direct impact on teachers' day-to-day lives. But efforts like those in Louisiana to elevate teachers' voices, and not just their salaries, are more likely to make a real difference for the teaching profession by creating a clear career ladder. The state's efforts could also be cultivating a teaching force that is providing students with the curricula and instruction they need to achieve at higher levels.
There are many opportunities to manage climate risk around the world, but not everything can be saved. Delaying triage of climate damages could leave societies making ad hoc decisions instead of focusing on protecting the things they value most.
For Gulf Coast residents, dealing with the impact of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is challenging enough. With the Taylor Energy spill, they may face an even more daunting recovery, one that could take decades. Acknowledging the extent and complexity of recovery is the first step toward supporting coastal communities to build their resilience in the face of overlapping disasters.
Louisiana has taken big steps to improve its education policies and the education of the state's children, from birth to grade 12. Parents can help their children benefit from the reforms by being informed about the changes and knowing how to take advantage of new resources.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency's strategic plan shows several shifts in U.S. disaster relief policy. Redirecting longer-term recovery operations to state and local authorities would allow FEMA to concentrate its assets on the catastrophic disasters it is uniquely designed to handle.
A targeted approach could help the federal government address the root causes of infrastructure problems more effectively than a spending initiative that simply spreads money around with the hope that more spending might do some good.
The rental affordability crisis was caused by declining incomes since 2000, the slowing of new construction, households getting smaller, and the seven million foreclosures during the recession. It is a national problem in need of a national solution.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina represented a major test of the nation's post-9/11 disaster-response systems. Since that time, the United States has sought to improve those systems, but much more needs to be done in order to properly address the threat of a large-scale cyber attack.
As sea levels rise and extreme weather events become more common, evacuation routes in coastal areas will become more important. Transportation engineers need to be more proactive as they try to anticipate damage to pavement, bridges, and culverts.
All U.S. policy decisions can and should be guided by clear evidence. Climate change policy is no exception. The United States should focus on addressing the clearest vulnerabilities, such as securing coastal defense infrastructure.
The Paris climate conference cannot provide the engine that will drive a solution to the world's climate change challenge. Rather, it can best serve as a mediator that will help guide and structure the swirling, bottom-up process of radical change that is the best hope of preserving Earth's climate.
Because climate change is largely irreversible, mitigation alone won't solve the problem. While mitigation will prevent even greater, future climatic changes, adaptation — efforts to adjust to climate change's effects — will prepare the world for a new set of living conditions, whatever they may be.
This weekend marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. As the region struggled to cope and rebuild after the storm, RAND experts worked on solutions to the region's long-term challenges.
President Obama's executive order that directs federal agencies to plan and build for higher flood levels as they construct new projects in flood-prone regions will affect hundreds of billions of dollars of future public works projects. In an ideal world, planners would estimate the benefits and costs for each project, taking into account everything from the details of the local landscape to the potential for adaptive responses over time.
A new research group, the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities, will assess and address the public health, social, and economic impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico region. It will focus on determining how communities can build resilience to future disasters.
When scientists predict extreme weather that never materializes, lay people tend to wonder what went wrong. This is a natural tendency that is not tied to a failure of the science, but rather to differences in the way scientists and lay people view predictions about extreme events.
The philosophy and motivation surrounding community resilience has strongly resonated with community leaders but there remains a divide between how experts articulate resilience policy and how that policy translates to on-the-ground implementation. Building Community Resilience: An Online Training addresses that tension.
While President Obama was delivering his speech on climate change at Georgetown University on June 25, some of RAND's energy policy experts were live-tweeting their thoughts on the president's proposals.
The path to climate change preparedness should start at the intersection of resilience and robustness — that is, building resilient communities with the individuals and organizations within those communities making robust decisions, ones designed to work well over a wide range of ever-changing conditions.
In this video, Jordan Fischbach discusses how RAND helped Louisiana develop its 2012 Coastal Master Plan and key lessons that can make other communities more resilient in the face of natural disasters.
In this Resilient Communities podcast, Admiral Thad Allen discusses the critical questions confronting the field of community resilience as well as a new toolkit developed by RAND researchers to support community disaster planning.
Faith-based organizations may frame HIV as punishment for sin, as a call to compassion, or as an opportunity for transformation. The frame affects the kinds of health services that these organizations provide, as well as the messages they convey about HIV to their congregations.
After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans replaced the city's existing school system with a decentralized choice-based system of both charter and district-run schools. An examination of principal, teacher, and parent surveys found many similarities between charter and traditional schools' performance but greater satisfaction among charter school parents with their children's schools, as well as more perceived choices.
If the U.S. does not improve its ability to track federal spending and develop reliable measures of effectiveness, precious federal disaster aid will continue to be at risk of being squandered, writes Agnes Gereben Schaefer.
The composition of households in New Orleans made the city's families more vulnerable to breakup during the chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina. Two-thirds of the city's households at that time saw at least one family member move away, an unusually high number even given the tremendous destruction of the hurricane.
Admiral Thad Allen, then a senior fellow at RAND, presented “Managing the Unexpected” on April 19, 2011, as part of RAND's Issues in Focus public outreach series. Retired Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and National Incident Commander for the response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Allen discussed his experiences leading the nation's high-profile response to two national emergencies—the oil spill and Hurricane Katrina.
Nonstructural measures — such as incentives for home elevation, incentives for relocation to lower-risk areas, and restrictions on the use of floodplain land — can make New Orleans less vulnerable to storm surge
In this March 2011 Congressional Briefing, behavioral scientist Joie Acosta shares action plans and policy recommendations that emerged from a community conference held on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Distinguished panelists include Admiral Thad Allen, now a senior fellow at the RAND Corporation, and Ann Williamson, President and CEO of the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations.
An initiative that successfully reduced gun violence in Boston was adapted for a section of East Los Angeles with prevalent gang activity. Though not implemented as planned, the intervention helped reduce violent and gang crime in the targeted districts, both during and immediately after implementation.
Many American parents and adolescents do not talk about important sexual topics, including birth control and sexually transmitted diseases, before adolescents' sexual debut. Clinicians can facilitate this communication by providing parents with information about sexual behavior of adolescents.
Five years after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, neither the federal government nor the private sector is any closer to developing effective solutions to the problems facing flood and windstorm insurance.
On the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, RAND Gulf States in partnership with LANO and the Allstate Foundation invites Louisiana's leaders to discuss the crucial role of nonprofits in rebuilding after the storm.
This report documents some of the key challenges in coordination, communication, and financing of the Disaster Case Management Pilot (DCMP) program and offers recommendations for future state and FEMA implementation of disaster case management.
In his inaugural address, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu clearly accepted his dual challenge: rebuild a city that welcomes its still-displaced residents, and make long-needed changes to attract newcomers as well, writes Melissa Flournoy.
While analysis shows that aggregate detrimental labor market effects may be short-lived after natural disasters, results from Hurricane Katrina demonstrate that some groups may face more severe and sustained consequences.
Stakeholders in communities in which health care access was disrupted by Hurricane Katrina were engaged in an assessment of health priorities, as well as in data interpretation and plan design, to produce a sustainable community-academic partnership.
The Community Foundation of Shreveport-Bossier selected education, health, and poverty as the focus for funding related to children and families. This framework helps the Foundation prioritize investments by identifying the intersection of local needs, community assets, and national best practices.
The Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study shows that it is possible to study this hard-to-survey population to determine rates of return and mental illness among residents who experienced Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.
Four years after Hurricane Katrina, many people in the Gulf Coast region are still "just surviving," struggling with the economic devastation and the physical and psychological toll of these kinds of disasters, write Anita Chandra and Joie Acosta.
The federal government has spent about $140 billion responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Gulf Coast now needs more money for hurricane and flood protection and for coastal restoration. But we still haven't properly evaluated whether our money was spent wisely, writes Melissa Flournoy.
Alabama has made significant economic progress in recent decades, attracting car manufacturers and new industrial development. The state now has an opportunity to address some systemic challenges in education, health care, and workforce development to be competitive in a global economy, writes Melissa Flournoy.
These tough times also present an opportunity for Mississippi to do more than just cope with the immediate crisis: it can work to find smart ways to address the chronic social and economic problems that have plagued the state for decades, writes Melissa Flournoy.
In his campaign, President-elect Barack Obama pledged to rebuild the Gulf Coast — one of the country's most wounded, yet economically strategic, regions. To keep this laudable promise, he will need to make a sustained commitment not only to a national disaster recovery plan, but also a comprehensive economic development strategy for the Gulf Coast, writes Melissa Flournoy.
State arts agencies — key players within the U.S. system of public support for the arts — face a wide varitey of challenges to their typical roles as grantmakers. The author concludes that future state arts policy is likely to focus more on efforts to develop the creative economy and to grow the audience for the arts.
Policymakers have underestimated the critical role of arts learning in supporting a vibrant nonprofit cultural sector. Despite decades of effort to make high-quality works of art available to Americans, demand for the arts has failed to keep pace with supply.
When Students Disappear… — Feb. 21, 2007
Fifty-three thousand students disappeared from Louisiana's public school system after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Another 10,000 enrolled temporarily after the storms and then departed. They did not return to the state's public schools for the remainder of the 2005-06 school year, writes John F. Pane.
Mississippi Comeback — Aug. 20, 2006
Hurricane Katrina caused as much devastation and human suffering along Mississippi's Gulf Coast as it did to New Orleans. It was the worst disaster to hit the state since the Mississippi River floods of 1927 and the Great Depression that soon followed. Katrina's powerful winds and floodwaters claimed 231 lives statewide, caused more than $100 billion in damages and destroyed buildings, crops and livestock as far as 100 miles inland.
Health Costs of Katrina — Oct. 10, 2005
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita took a devastating toll on their victims, tragically killing and injuring some and leaving many not only homeless but jobless - deprived of paychecks and employer-sponsored health insurance. Suddenly unable to pay their medical bills, these people - like many others who were poor and lacked health insurance before the hurricanes - now face a health care crisis.
Healing Storm Victims' Mental Health — Oct. 3, 2005
Victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita are now faced with the task of coping with the psychological aftermath of the nightmare storms. Without a major national effort, many may not have the help they need to recover fully, write Kenneth B. Wells and Greer Sullivan.
Prepare for Disaster — Sep. 27, 2005
The glaring lesson in the aftermath of the largest emergency response and relief effort in U.S. history following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita is that it is far less painful and expensive to prepare for disasters than to respond to them. We've seen the same lesson following earlier disasters, but have failed to learn its, write Tom LaTourrette and Ed Chan.
Get Proactive with Disasters — Sep. 27, 2005
Imagine if the Army's main strategy for protecting soldiers was to provide more ambulances, hospital beds, and doctors to treat the wounded - instead of relying on defensive measures such as fortifications, tanks, body armor and helmets to protect soldiers from being wounded in the first place. The strategy of responding only after attacks instead of adequately preparing to defend against them sounds absurd. But it is exactly what the federal government, states and localities have done when it comes to protecting people from disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, tornados and volcanoes, writes Charles Meade.