Special Issue: Remembering Katrina, Looking Ahead
The seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina presents an opportunity to reflect on the progress the U.S. has made in disaster preparedness. While we have taken tremendous strides in our collective readiness, more work must be done to strengthen the capacity of communities to effectively respond to and recover from disasters.
New momentum in “community resilience” offers a way to engage diverse stakeholders in coordinated efforts. This special issue of Focus on Community Resilience features insights, research, and tools that can help us better respond to, prepare for, and recover from the disasters that affect us all.
In this episode, Admiral Thad Allen discusses the critical questions confronting the field of community resilience, including where we should focus our research and analysis.
RAND researchers supported the development of Louisiana's draft 2012 master plan to guide state investment in coastal protection. This includes a new hurricane flood risk model to assess strategies to reduce flood damage and a planning framework and decision support tool that compares risks associated with various land-building projects.
Since Hurricane Katrina touched down in New Orleans seven years ago, RAND and our colleagues have examined the lessons learned from the storm. These analyses have highlighted:
- the effects of disasters on schools and families
- gaps in the coordination and financing of disaster case management services
- the essential role of nongovernmental organizations in supporting disaster recovery.
The Transformation of a School System
Household Structure and Social Vulnerability: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina
Navigating the Road to Recovery
The Nongovernmental Sector in Disaster Resilience
The Role of Nongovernmental Organizations in Long-Term Human Recovery After Disaster
Tools & Resources
Increasingly, community leaders are being asked to develop local strategies for building resilience to disasters. These strategies must include government and nongovernment stakeholders who may be part of local emergency planning committees or related community planning teams. This roadmap outlines eight “levers” of resilience, or means of achieving community resilience:
Promote pre- and post-incident population health, including behavioral health
Ensure access to high-quality health, behavioral health, and social services
Ensure ongoing information to the public about preparedness, risks, and resources before, during, and after a disaster
Promote participatory decisionmaking in planning, response and recovery activities
Enable and support individuals and communities to assume responsibility for their preparedness
Develop strong partnerships within and between government and nongovernmental organizations
Collect, analyze, and utilize data on building community resilience
Leverage resources for multiple use and maximum effectiveness
Web-Based Training on Building Community Resilience
To provide more concrete information on planning elements and processes for building community resilience, RAND is developing a web-based training module that will introduce a 10-item community resilience planning checklist. RAND will release the final module this fall, 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does community resilience require a lot of new resources or operational changes for my department / program?
There is great synergy among what government agencies, community businesses, and nonprofits already do to maintain the health and well-being of the population and what these organizations can do to support the ongoing resilience of a community to large-scale disasters.
A public health department can integrate tips about emergency preparedness into its existing community outreach programs (e.g., campaigns to increase vaccination uptake). A business already engaged in social entrepreneurism can use this model to create smart rebuilding plans after a disaster.
It is not always about doing more—it is about achieving greater alignment.