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

  • 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

  • Report

    Report

    Analysis of the Cities Readiness Initiative

    Examines (1) the status of communities' capability to deliver medical countermeasures within 48 hours of a federal decision to deploy assets and (2) whether the Cities Readiness Initiative has improved communities' capability to meet that goal.

    Mar 27, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Medical Relief After Earthquakes: It's Time for a New Paradigm

    This editorial examines the performance of urban search and rescue teams that responded to major earthquake disasters in Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan over the last decade.

    Mar 1, 2012

  • Resilient Communities Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Resilient Communities: Creating Resilient Coastal Communities

    In this Resilient Communities podcast, Jordan R. Fischbach discusses recent research that has helped the city of New Orleans address the challenge of reducing flood risk and is relevant to many other coastal communities that are concerned with water resources, infrastructure planning, rising sea levels, and flooding.

    Feb 24, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Building Community Resilience: What Can the United States Learn from Experiences in Other Countries?

    Community resilience (CR) is emerging as a major public policy priority within disaster management and is one of two key pillars of the Dec. 2009 US National Health Security Strategy.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Developing and Pilot Testing a Laboratory Specific Continuity of Operations Tabletop Exercise

    Describes the importance of a Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), and identifies common strengths and potential vulnerabilities of laboratoy-specific COOPs.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • Resilient Communities Audio Podcast

    Multimedia

    Resilient Communities: Creating a Community of Practice

    In this Resilient Communities podcast, Admiral Thad Allen discusses the critical questions confronting the field of community resilience as well as a new toolkit developed by RAND researchers to support community disaster planning.

    Dec 12, 2011

  • A federal court officer instructs court personnel during an evacuation of the Federal Court Building in New York, after a 5.9 magnitude earthquake that struck the East Coast, August 23, 2011, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Commentary

    Quake a Disaster 'Drill' D.C. Flunked

    Fortunately for the nation's capitol, Hurricane Irene and the East Coast earthquake proved to be relatively minor events, as far as disasters go. But before everyone breathes a sigh of relief, it would be wise to reflect on how people responded to what were essentially dress rehearsals for much bigger events, write Lynn E. Davis and Arthur L. Kellermann.

    Aug 29, 2011

  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Japan's Foreign Minister Takeaki Matsumoto shake hands after their meeting at the Iikura Guest House in Tokyo, April 17, 2011, photo by Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

    Commentary

    Tokyo's Transformation

    The U.S. response to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami showcased its lasting commitment to Japan, as well as the unique logistical and material capabilities that the U.S. military forces stationed in the Pacific can provide.

    Aug 25, 2011