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.

  • Aerial view of a damaged home in the mountainous area of Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, October 9, 2017, photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA

    Q&A

    Disaster Recovery in Puerto Rico: Q&A with Marielena Lara

    Apr 26, 2021

    When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, it peeled roofs from houses, turned roads into rivers, and left millions of people without electricity or safe drinking water. Marielena Lara, a senior physician policy researcher at RAND, was grateful to be part of the recovery planning.

  • 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

  • A destroyed home in Moore, OK, where an F5 tornado struck on May 20, 2013

    News Release

    RAND Launches Center to Study Ways to Manage Catastrophic Risk and Compensate Victims

    The RAND Corporation has created a new research center that will analyze different approaches to compensating individuals, businesses, and others following catastrophes ranging from natural disasters to terrorist attacks.

    Jun 24, 2013

  • Moore, Okla. resident looking through remains of her house that was detroyed by the tornado

    Commentary

    Moore Must Be Ready for Psychological Aftermath

    Ensuring the availability of needed mental health resources was critical in the immediate aftermath and recovery phase of the 2011 Joplin, Missouri tornado. Authorities in Oklahoma must ensure that such services are in place early so that Moore's residents can begin the long journey to recovery.

    May 31, 2013

  • Tornado damaged classroom in the Tower Elementary School in Moore, OK

    Blog

    Resources for Schools and Parents Following the Deadly Oklahoma Tornado

    The toll of the tornado on school students in Moore, Oklahoma, cannot be overstated. To assist with recovery, RAND's CBITS program offers resources on psychological first aid for schools, as well as additional materials for educators and parents.

    May 29, 2013

  • Moore,Oklahoma,Oklahoma tornado,U.S. Air Force,assistance

    Commentary

    From Boston to Oklahoma—Lessons for the Regional Trauma Response System

    Three mass-casualty events occurring in three very different settings show that disaster preparedness should not be limited to large cities or “target” areas in the United States. One trait that is common to all such events is the need for coordinated, responsive trauma care for victims.

    May 23, 2013

  • Governor Patrick visits the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center after the Boston Marathon bombings

    Commentary

    Lessons from Boston

    Boston's health care providers reacted the way they did because they knew what they were supposed to do. Those who did not were smart enough to follow the lead of those who did. That's how a “ritualized” disaster plan works.

    Apr 25, 2013

  • houses destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    Planning for Superstorms, Wildfires, and Deep Uncertainty

    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.

    Apr 18, 2013

  • Road with hurricane debris

    Journal Article

    Harnessing a Community for Sustainable Disaster Response and Recovery

    This analysis used peer-reviewed literature, relevant policy, and federal guidance to characterize the capabilities of nongovernmental organizations, factors that determine their involvement, and key services they provide during disaster response and recovery.

    Jan 1, 2013

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    Journal Article

    Nongovernmental Resources to Support Disaster Preparedness, Response, and Recovery

    The development of an assets framework which identifies relevant nongovernmental resources for disaster preparedness and response and assesses their availability at state and local levels found that the capacity of each sector to capture data needs strengthening.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Survivors carrying their belongings walk past destroyed houses after Super Typhoon Haiyan battered Tacloban city in central Philippines

    Journal Article

    East Asian Military Involvement in International Disaster Relief Operations

    The participation of East Asian militaries in international disaster relief is a relatively new phenomenon with many implications. These militaries are growing their proficiency in disaster relief operations by engaging in three observed types of aid: delivery, provision, and distribution.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Gun violence protesters march on NRA lobbying offices

    Commentary

    Responding to Newtown

    Art Kellermann reviews what is known from broad outlines of the Newtown attack and past research on gun violence to offer some preliminary thoughts to the Obama Administration's task force and the public.

    Dec 26, 2012

  • a young boy and girl hold hands while walking to school

    Commentary

    In Connecticut, Recovery and Healing Will Take Time

    With an event like this, “recovery” doesn't mean a return to normal, because lives have been permanently altered. Recovery can only mean finding a new normal, a new path forward. And schools, those places of safety and healthy development, can help with that process, by providing a structure and community to support healing, writes Lisa Jaycox.

    Dec 20, 2012

  • Volunteers assist with the clean up efforts in Sea Bright, NJ, after Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    'New Normal' Requires New Ways to Support Social and 'Human' Recovery

    Recent global disasters vividly illustrate that recovery entails more than simply restoring physical infrastructure such as roads and buildings; it is also a long process of restoring the social infrastructure—the daily routines and networks that support the physical and mental health and well-being of the population, write Anita Chandra and Joie Acosta.

    Nov 26, 2012

  • New York Army National Guard soldiers evacuate patients from Bellevue Hospital on Oct. 31, 2012 because of Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    Hurricane Sandy Highlights Importance of Hospital Preparedness

    The problem is that on any given day, disaster preparedness takes a back seat to ongoing operations. The tyranny of the urgent prevents hospital administrators from making investments in preparedness, writes Art Kellermann.

    Nov 15, 2012

  • Aerial photos of New Jersey coastline in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    In Wake of Hurricane Sandy, Look to Louisiana for Lessons

    Just as public agencies across the country conducted terrorism risk assessments in the wake of 9/11, a comprehensive infrastructure assessment may be in order to understand natural hazard risks and the potential exacerbating effects of climate change, write Gary Cecchine, David Groves, and Jordan Fischbach.

    Nov 1, 2012

  • Report

    Report

    Bridging the Gap: Prototype Tools to Support Local Disaster Preparedness Planning and Collaboration

    RAND researchers developed an initial prototype tool to help determine capabilities and resources a locality will likely require during a disaster. The report also describes two social networking tools for local coordination of disaster preparedness.

    Oct 12, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    The Public Health Disaster Trust Scale: Validation of a Brief Measure

    Trust contributes to community resilience by the critical influence it has on the community's responses to public health recommendations before, during, and after disasters.

    Jul 1, 2012

  • Brochure

    Brochure

    Focus on Community Resilience

    Resilient communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural and man-made disasters. RAND experts offer expertise on evaluating and implementing community resilience–building activities throughout the world.

    May 31, 2012

  • Damage sustained by St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, Mo., after the May 22, 2011 EF-5 tornado

    Commentary

    Medical Records Immune to Tornado in Joplin, Mo.

    Across the country, electronic medical records, designed first and foremost to make health care delivery safer and more efficient, are proving valuable when disaster strikes, write Mahshid Abir and Art Kellermann.

    May 23, 2012

  • Ninth Ward of New Orleans over a year after Katrina, showing the devastation.

    Project

    RAND Provides Insight into National Flood Insurance Reform Proposals

    FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program writes the vast majority of flood insurance on residential properties in the United States; current legislation includes a number of reforms that could strengthen the program. RAND has completed studies in four key areas that offer insight into the issues under consideration.

    May 18, 2012

  • An aerial view of the flooded roads and fields in Louisiana are shown after Hurricane Lili

    Commentary

    A Flood of Innovation: Louisiana's Coastal Master Plan

    Michael D. Rich, RAND's president and chief executive officer, explains how RAND computer models and empirical analyses are helping protect and restore the Louisiana coast.

    May 10, 2012