Purdue Univ. to Study Recovery from H. Sandy

From the university’s news site, mention of a new research project: Project drawing on lessons from Hurricane Sandy aims to improve US preparedness.

The university has a major grant to study H. Sandy. The focus is on recovery although the title of this article does not so indicate.

Update:  Thanks to Rob Dale for adding a comment to this posting with a link to a video about the new project.

Now a I have another question: in the video the professor of civil engineering recommends that social science factors be studied.  I wonder if there are social scientists as partners on this project.  Anyone know?

Additional info, as of Feb. 27, is here.

NSF and NOAA Collaboration

From the Homeland Security Newswire, this news about a new scientific collaboration: Harnessing science to help in emergency response.

Four years ago, communities across the East Coast faced Superstorm Sandy, a weather system that claimed more than seventy lives in the United States and caused $65 billion in damages. Earlier this month, Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, killing more than a thousand people before turning north to the United States, where it caused another forty-three deaths. The NSF and NOAA collaborate to provide the necessary tools to ensure people respond appropriately to dangerous weather systems

New Disaster Research Center at Univ. of WA

As noted by EM blog: How are You Incorporating Research into your Programs?
NOTE: The Diva had trouble locating the direct link to the Center. Google does not seem to know where to find it just yet. Thanks to reader Geomando for helping me out.

It turns out the National Science Foundation has recently awarded $19M. to several research centers. Of that total, $4M. went to the Univ. of WA. Here are more details from the NSF on the full set of awards.

EM Research Literature – Hardly Read or Used

As a long-time researcher and writer in the EM field, the Diva noted with interest and chagrin this presentation titled  Utilization of Research Literature.  Although this research was done in one university program at one point in time, the results probably are an indicator of major changes and problems in higher education in EM today. And they are quite distressing to me.

The author is Dr. Deborah Persell of Arkansas State University, who presented her study results at the workshop preceding the 2016 Higher Education in Emergency Management Symposium this past week.  If you would like to talk to her about this study, her contact info is: dpersell@astate.edu.

The lack of interest in and utilization of research results in the EM field is not a new one. For example see: Knowing better and losing even more: the use of knowledge in hazards management (2001), written by Gilbert White, Robert Kates, and Ian Burton (all eminent and long-time researchers) in 2001. Given the emergence of the Internet and of online education in the EM field since 2001, major changes are likely to have occurred.

The Diva is very interested in this topic and would like to know if anyone else done a recent study or attempted to measure the utilization of EM literature and research?  She would like to hear about  some additional studies and experiences.

Two Notable Reports from the World Bank Conference on Recovery

The World Bank Conference, details of which I noted last week, was interesting and provided a wide array of views and experiences. Two of the the reports I acquired that I think are notable are:

(1) Area Business Continuity Management; Scalable Cross Sector Coordination Framework of Disaster management for Business Continuity. Japan International Cooperation Agency. [16 pp; no date.]
(2) Guide to Developing Disaster Recovery Frameworks: World Reconstruction Conference Version, Sept. 2014. (100 pages) Source: GFDRR.

Earthquakes in CA

To the surprise of many, CA has not had a major earthquake for about 25 years. If you are curious about earthquake history in CA, you might want to check out this chart: Earthquake Planning in CA ( 1906- 2008);  the time line chart is available to browse here: CAEQ.


Eric Holdeman is already offering Lessons Learned on his blog; and the ‘quake only happened 2 days ago!

Long-Term Economic Outcomes of Disasters

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.


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!

Great Article on Recovery in New Journal

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.