Short-Term Solutions to a Long-Term Challenge

Rethinking Disaster Recovery Planning to Reduce Vulnerabilities and Inequities

Published in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Volume 17, Number 2 (January 2020). doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020482

Posted on RAND.org on April 30, 2020

by Melissa L. Finucane, Joie D. Acosta, Amanda Wicker, Katie Whipkey

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In the immediate aftermath of disaster, governments usually act quickly to reduce risk and to recover their communities' socio-economic functioning. Policy makers in these situations need—but may not have the capacity or time for—substantial analysis and public debate about how to balance short- and long-term societal needs. Inadequate attention to this challenge may result in a deepening of the inequities that increase vulnerability to disaster impacts. We review case examples to illustrate how post-disaster policies may influence the nature, pace, and inclusiveness of community recovery. We then apply a vulnerability/inequity framework to conceptualize how to enhance disaster recovery and avoid perpetuating inequities when weighing the diverse needs of communities across long time horizons.

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