Disaster Recovery Operations

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Recovery in the aftermath of natural or man-made disasters is directly related to the availability of local resources and the infrastructure and operational ability to deliver assistance from outside the affected region. RAND researchers have helped governments, militaries, and private organizations organize recovery operations during disasters, learn from past experience, and prepare for future disasters.

  • Two women await the arrival of U.S Border Patrol riverine agents in an air boat to pick them up as they are evacuated from a flooded subdivision near Houston, Texas, in the wake of Hurricane Harvey August 30, 2017.

    Report

    Assessing Social Equity in Disaster Preparation, Response, and Recovery

    Nov 16, 2021

    In this webinar, senior social scientist Melissa Finucane reviews the complex nature of social equity—including contextual, procedural, and distributional equity dimensions—and how a robust, evidence-based approach is needed to measure progress toward equity in disaster contexts.

  • Crane trucks in the construction of a bridge, photo by Juan Enrique del Barrio/Adobe Stock

    Commentary

    New Thinking to Translate Infrastructure Dollars into Resilience

    Jun 2, 2021

    Infrastructure investments the United States makes today to recover from the pandemic can help boost resilience for the future. We will need to think beyond what we've done in the past to ensure that these investments can continue to protect the nation from shifting threats in the future.

Explore Disaster Recovery Operations

  • An urban green roof for stormwater management. Photo by RonTech2000 / Getty Images

    Journal Article

    Climate-Resilient Planning for Urban Stormwater and Wastewater Utilities: Workshop Proceedings

    This document summarizes the Climate-Resilient Planning for Urban Stormwater and Wastewater Utilities Workshop, held July 16–17, 2019 at the Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility in Brooklyn, NY.

    Mar 5, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    What Can FEMA Learn from the Historic 2017 Hurricane and Wildfire Seasons?

    Emergency managers—including FEMA, but also extending to the states and localities that are the first line of defense—could do much more to identify statewide risks and build community resilience long before an event makes headlines.

    Feb 12, 2020

  • A local resident works repairing a house roof a year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, near Barceloneta, Puerto Rico, September 18, 2018, photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Commentary

    What Can FEMA Learn from the Historic 2017 Hurricane and Wildfire Seasons?

    When a hurricane comes ashore or a wildfire ignites, most of a community's vulnerability to disaster is already set. Emergency managers including FEMA, states, and localities could do much more to identify statewide risks and build community resilience before an event makes headlines.

    Feb 3, 2020

  • Building with large H sign for hospital, photo by peterspiro/Getty Images

    Testimony

    California's Hospital Seismic Safety Requirements: Cost and Affordability

    By 2030, California hospitals will be required by law to remain operational after a major earthquake. How much might it cost to reach compliance by the deadline? And can hospitals afford this estimated spending?

    Jan 28, 2020

  • A burning gum tree is felled to stop it from falling on a car in Corbago, as bushfires continue in New South Wales, Australia, January 5, 2020, photo by Tracey Nearmy/Reuters

    Commentary

    Australia's Fires: Respond Now, but Also Measure Toll on People for the Future

    As an Australian, Melissa Finucane has watched with anguish as massive bushfires devastated wide swaths of her home country. As a researcher who studies community resilience, she can't help but think of how much blood, sweat, tears, and money will be required to recover.

    Jan 20, 2020

  • FEMA specialist assists a Hurricane Sandy survivor with medical issues

    Journal Article

    On the Need for Prospective Disaster Survey Panels

    Understanding how human beings respond to emergencies is difficult, because a lack of predisaster data often makes before-and-after comparisons impossible.

    Nov 26, 2019

  • Blog

    Disinformation, Drug Policy, Artificial Intelligence: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on tools to fight disinformation online, the negative consequences of punishing pregnant women for drug use, how to ensure public trust in artificial intelligence, and more.

    Nov 15, 2019

  • Emergency workers float along an oil collection boom in front of Athos I after it spilled 30,00 gallons of crude oil into the Delaware River in Philadelphia, November 28, 2004, photo by Tim Shaffer/Reuters

    Report

    The Benefits and Drawbacks of Early Assistance After Disasters

    After human-made disasters, early assistance from potentially responsible parties can sometimes fill gaps that are not always addressed by NGOs and first responders. But is providing such assistance a good strategy in terms of reducing future litigation or improving public opinion?

    Nov 14, 2019

  • A man walks among debris at the Mudd neighborhood, devastated after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas, September 6, 2019, photo by Marco Bello/Reuters

    Commentary

    Hurricane Recovery in the Bahamas: Turning Good Intentions into Good Decisions

    Recovery in the Bahamas will have to be a balancing act. Plans will need to allow for transition toward long-term strategic goals for the nation, but also be mindful of not perpetuating inequities.

    Sep 6, 2019

  • A man walks through floodwaters to survey damage from Hurricane Sandy in the New Dorp Beach neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, November 1, 2012, photo by Lucas Jackson/Reuters

    Essay

    How Citizen Scientists Are Protecting Their Communities

    After Superstorm Sandy, residents of Brooklyn's Sunset Park neighborhood cleaned up debris, pumped out basements, and teamed up with researchers to find out what was in the floodwater. They established safety protocols to help local businesses prevent their chemicals from escaping and wrote a guide to help other communities.

    Aug 29, 2019

  • People working together to implement an idea, illustration by VectorMine/Adobe Stock

    Report

    The Potential of Community Citizen Science

    Community citizen science offers unique opportunities to engage the public in science and to enhance civic life. It is used for activities like monitoring ecosystem health and enhancing disaster preparedness. But there are challenges to translating citizen science research into action.

    Jun 18, 2019

  • Alabama beach after the Gulf oil spill

    Tool

    Database of Literature on Oil Spills and Public Health

    Overview that describes the literature search CRCG undertook and the database developed with a goal of assessing the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the health, social, and economic wellbeing of Gulf Coast communities.

    May 20, 2019

  • Engineers are using this specially constructed five-story building to study how high-value buildings, such as hospitals and data centers, can remain operational after an earthquake, in San Diego, California, April 17, 2012, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Report

    Seismic Safety Upgrades May Cost California Hospitals Billions

    California hospitals are required by law to reduce their buildings' risk of collapse by 2020 and to remain operational after an earthquake by 2030. Hospitals have to pay for the upgrades, which could cost between $34 billion and $143 billion statewide. One-third of California hospitals are already in some form of financial distress.

    Mar 28, 2019

  • News Release

    News Release

    Seismic Safety Upgrades May Cost California Hospitals Billions, Increase Number of Hospitals in Financial Distress

    After the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, in which 11 hospitals were damaged and eight were evacuated, California adopted SB1953, which aims to improve hospital resilience to seismic events. The law requires hospitals to reduce their buildings' risk of collapse by 2020 and to remain operational after an earthquake by 2030. California hospitals would need to make substantial investments to meet 2030 state seismic safety standards.

    Mar 28, 2019

  • Tool

    Tool

    Database of Literature on Disaster Surveys

    The Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities presents an overview of a literature review on the impacts of natural and man-made disasters in the United States and a corresponding database with the results from that review.

    Mar 18, 2019

  • Report

    Report

    Countering China's Efforts to Isolate Taiwan Diplomatically in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Role of Development Assistance and Disaster Relief

    Taiwan provides development assistance and disaster relief programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. This report considers how Taiwan can optimize its help to this region to ensure that it gets the maximum diplomatic value for its generosity.

    Mar 13, 2019

  • Blog

    Opioids, Summer Learning, Immigration: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on heroin-assisted treatment and supervised consumption sites, helping schools build better summer learning programs, America's overwhelmed immigration system, and more.

    Dec 7, 2018

  • Work crews on boats gather to clean marshland impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Barataria Bay of Louisiana, June 17, 2010.

    Commentary

    Overlapping Environmental Disasters Put a Strain on Gulf Communities

    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.

    Nov 29, 2018

  • Tool

    Tool

    Survey of Trauma, Resilience, and Opportunity Among Neighborhoods in the Gulf (STRONG) Codebook

    This report describes the measures in the Survey of Trauma, Resilience, and Opportunity Among Neighborhoods in the Gulf (STRONG), which assesses the health and well-being of Gulf Coast residents five years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    Oct 23, 2018

  • The Federal Emergency Management Agency Headquarters in Washington, U.S., October 5, 2016

    Commentary

    FEMA's Transformation

    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.

    Jun 8, 2018