According to this article, lessons have been learned re disaster response. The next question to be addressed is have lessons been learned about the recovery process?
Well said. I agree with you. The H. Irma recovery is going to be long and hard, especially for the U.S.V.I.
There are two big impediments to improving the recovery process that are often overlooked.
• Long-term recovery really isn’t an emergency management function. Emergency managers, esp. first responders, have “hero” as their job description. People leading recovery have “saint” as theirs. The patience of Job and the hide of an alligator are required. So figuring out who walks the point is of paramount importance. In particular, economic development organizations need to play a bigger role.
• The process should begin before disaster strikes, but it’s hard to build a constituency for it. Prior to a disaster, every day concerns – potholes, politics, the myriad of minutia a community must deal with – distract community leaders’ attention away from the longer term. Former Mayor Joe Riley of Charleston, SC, once told me that planning for recovery was every bit as important – and as difficult – as planning to respond to a crisis. Florida’s pilot program aimed at pre-disaster long-term recovery planning for coastal communities has apparently languished but served as a great model for what communities can do beforehand. The recovery process really should begin at virtually the same time as the response: the good intentions of first responders can create barriers that impede recovery, as we saw in Katrina.
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Claire B. Rubin has 39 years of experience as a researcher, consultant, and educator in the fields of emergency management and homeland security.
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