Sep 30, 2020
The authors describe Puerto Rico's communities in terms of population characteristics, community and individual preparedness, and economic pressures leading up to Hurricanes Irma and Maria. They detail the storms' impact in terms of damage, community stress, and migration. The researchers developed courses of action to improve capacity for emergency preparedness, coordination, communication, recovery planning, and research and training.
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The government of Puerto Rico developed a plan to recover from the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, build resilience to withstand future disasters, and restore the struggling economy. The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC), operated by RAND Corporation under contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, worked with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist with the development of the plan.
Acting in support of FEMA's Community Planning and Capacity Building (CPCB) sector, HSOAC conducted surveys, interviews, and focus groups with municipalities, government leaders, subject-matter experts (with expertise in law enforcement, emergency management, community planning, etc.), nonprofits, and community residents, among others, to provide critical community context for CPCB efforts. HSOAC also used multiple data sources to estimate the outmigration of residents who in the wake of the hurricane moved out of their communities to the continental United States.
The authors describe the status of Puerto Rico's communities in terms of population characteristics and dynamics, community and individual preparedness, and economic pressures leading up to the landfalls of the hurricanes. They also report on the impact that the hurricanes had on Puerto Rico's communities in terms of damage, community stress, and migration away from the island. These analyses and discussions informed the development of 15 courses of action (COAs) aimed at improving Puerto Rico's capacity for emergency preparedness, coordination, communication, recovery planning, and research and training, to meet the needs of Puerto Rico and its vulnerable communities during a disaster.
Data and Methods
Puerto Rico Communities Before and After the Hurricanes
A Strategy for Recovery in Community Planning and Capacity Building
Community Planning and Capacity Building Courses of Action