This is the second posting in a row that deals with the long-term outcomes of a disaster, in this case a set of cyclones. While I think the title of the article is misleading — Emotional Storms Are No Response for Disasters -- it deals with a recent study that shows that government aid and World Bank projects are not enough to spur lasting recovery.
This article in the National Review notes that a new National Bureau of Economic Research paper supplies strong evidence that national economies decline compared with their pre-disaster trend and “do not recover.”
“The data reject hypotheses that disasters stimulate growth or that short-run losses disappear.” The conclusion: Cyclone-hit countries, rich or poor, experience such losses. Places where very big cyclones hit lose 3.7 years of development over the following two decades. This blow compares to a tax increase of 1 percent of gross domestic product, or a currency crisis. * * *
Economies do experience a jolt of growth when governments or private companies, not to mention international nonprofits and agencies, dump cash and rock concerts in the rush that follows tragedy. That jolt may include food, bottled water, and blankets that save lives. But economically, a jolt is just a jolt. The growth is not sustained. The true economic picture, and a negative one, comes clear over the long term, the 10- or twenty-year period. The only reason we have not noticed this ….is that “the gradual nature of these losses renders them inconspicuous to the casual observer.” Politicians think in election cycles, and so do voters, which explains why we may heretofore have found it expedient to ignore any evidence of long-term weakness that came before us.
Here is the direct URL to the 69 page paper, titled THE CAUSAL EFFECT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE ON LONG-RUN ECONOMIC GROWTH: EVIDENCE FROM 6,700 CYCLONES.
The Diva would add another reason many people do not know this information and that is because too few longitudinal studies of long-term recovery have been done!
‘Camille Was No Lady:’ 45 Years Ago, the Hurricane Changed Mississippi. Hurricane Camille wiped away landmarks, killed 141 people along the Coast and caused more than $1 billion in damage.
As I noted a couple of weeks ago, the new Journal of Extreme Events is free for the next several months. In the current issue is an article titled Exposure, Social Vulnerability and Recovery Disparities in N.J. After Hurricane Sandy, by Cutter et al.
This 23 page article focuses on housing recovery, but also provides an interesting and original analysis of approaches to recovery, including a discussion of dependent and independent variables. As the authors state:
This paper illustrates an integrated view of recovery derived from multiple theoretical perspectives focused on documenting the rate and variability of housing recovery and the factors contributing to it. It advances our understanding of recovery outcomes (in the short-term) and provided innovative methods for chronicling change in recovery patterns over time and geographically. “
As always, I welcome comments and reactions.
ProPublica has been on crusade regarding the Red Cross’s expenditures of donations after H. Sandy. Here is the latest from their site: Red Cross Reverses Stance on Sandy Spending “Trade Secrets;” The charity has released some new details on how it spent over $300 million raised after the storm.
Michael Berkowitz: Community is the secret of urban resilience . The author is CEO of the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative, an emerging movement in municipal planning and development: the quest to make urban communities far more resilient to social, economic and physical shocks.
Some quotes from the article:
With so many cities clamoring to participate, what will convince the 100 Resilient Cities to pick one over another? Answer: the camaraderie of its citizens, the fabric of its churches and religious organization, even the footprint of the transportation network and how it defines where neighborhoods end and begin.
“We see a key differentiator is community cohesion,” Berkowitz noted. “In other words, how much do neighbors check on neighbors? How tight-knit are communities that can come together during stresses or after shocks like earthquakes, big floods or hurricanes? Communities that are cohesive in that way always rebound better or are more resilient.”