Here is a way to start your search for recovery resources on the Internet, thanks to guest blogger Sasha Azar, who is a Master’s Candidate at Georgetown University and a Research Assistant on this blog.
When looking for news about long-term disaster recovery (LTDR) beyond what is included in textbooks and other similar materials, the first place I go to (assuming other students do this as well) is to my dearest friend, Google. This approach may not be the most academically sound, however, it helps orient me in the right direction and allows me to explore the various forms of supplemental information that are available on the web. In this field, one of the best ways to establish effective LTDR for future disasters is to study the LTDR efforts of past disasters.
My first Google find, Lessons in Community Recovery, is a report produced by FEMA that provides 11 detailed case studies of community recovery efforts in the United States. Case studies are fantastic resources for understanding the complexities of LTDR, especially when provided through an official report such as this one compiled by an agency like FEMA.
Blogs are also useful supplemental web resources for studying LTDR. The Recovery Diva herself called my attention to the Homeland Security Digital Library, an excellent resource that boasts an extensive collection of materials related to homeland security, emergency management, and disaster recovery, as well as an exhaustive list of 85 recommended blogs. Below are three of the best blogs found that relate to LTDR and why:
The official FEMA blog – with FEMA regarded as the lead U.S. federal agency in disaster response and recovery, it is important utilize its blog as an additional tool in exploring and understanding LTDR. The “search” function of the blog is incredibly useful in narrowing down blog posts to a particular topic of interest, (a search for “long term recovery” yielded over 50 results!) Posts include information about FEMA’s role in LTDR, the role of voluntary agencies, and international LTDR.
· Long Term Community Recovery From Disasters – a blog hosted on BlogSpot. Although the information is a bit dated and the author is anonymous, the content of this blog really delves into the details of how specific communities are taking steps towards long-term recovery. Recent posts examine post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, advancements in flood recovery in Schuylkill County, PA and West Pittston, PA, and the creation of a long-term recovery committee in Wilmington, NC.
The American Planning Association (APA) blog – the APA blog on recovery news covers a wide array of cities, states, and countries, and includes information on technological advancements that are aimed at improving recovery efforts. Recent posts include information about Google’s relief areas map for The Philippines, risk-based planning out of New Zealand, and reducing long-term risk in New York after Hurricane Sandy by utilizing creative designs.
In addition to blogs, online journals and magazines also serve as excellent auxiliary resources. Though some require subscriptions, many provide valuable information and news posts directly on the websites. Emergency Management Magazine is teeming with information about current international disaster events, improvements in disaster technology and policy, and the future of disaster recovery. In addition to this wealth of information, the magazine hosts 12 emergency management-related blogs on its website. The subject matters of these blogs can range from disaster communication to homeland security, with each blog containing posts that explore LTDR in each respective context.
Many organizations involved in disaster management and recovery also provide helpful complementary resources for academic study. In particular, the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (National VOAD) has an extensive online resource center that includes access to its document library, news and media information, and recovery toolkits. One of the texts found in the document library is National VOAD’s Long Term Recovery Guide, a comprehensive overview of the multifaceted issues that must be addressed during LTDR, such as volunteer management and donations management. This guide serves as a resource for those in the field as well as those endeavoring to be a part of it, and includes useful appendices such as sample documents counties and states can replicate, the different types of federal aid available for recovery, and the most common acronyms used by people in the field.
Whether it be online reports, blogs, magazines, or guides, the helpfulness and growth of disaster recovery information on the web is remarkable and seemingly endless.