Structures of Long-Term Disaster Recovery: Organizational Roles and Collaboration in Six Cities
Long-term recovery is the least theorized and studied stage of disasters. Yet, in the past decade, large disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina (2005), Rita (2005), Ike (2008), and Sandy (2012), and smaller but still destructive disasters such as wildfires in Texas (2011) and Colorado (2013), flooding of the Mississippi River (2011), and even technological disasters (West, TX 2013) have left numerous communities struggling with post-disaster planning, unequal and partial recovery outcomes, and recovery efforts that fail to reduce pre-disaster vulnerabilities. Increasing disaster frequencies and impacts mean more communities will struggle, often with little local experience in managing the difficult processes of achieving sustainable and resilient recovery. This research focuses on disaster recovery across different communities to build the knowledge-base and best practices that will help other communities prepare for and plan for disaster recovery. The results of this research will support efforts by local governments and nongovernmental organizations to develop recovery frameworks and plans that will speed disaster recovery and improve fiscal efficiency.To accomplish these goals, this research project involves in-depth study and extensive comparative analysis of the structures and networks of groups and organizations involved in disaster recovery efforts across six different communities that recently experienced disasters: Granbury, Texas (2013, tornado), West, Texas (2013, industrial facility explosion), Marion County, Texas (2011, wildfire), Bastrop County, Texas (2011, wildfire), Galveston, Texas (2008, Hurricane Ike), Brownsville, Texas (2008, Hurricane Dolly). Governmental and nongovernmental collaboration during recovery is important, yet which types of collaboration work best for recovery are little understood. Most disaster-related studies on organizational collaboration focus on response and emergency management agencies not on charities and community organizations that work on long-term recovery for two to ten years following a disaster. For each of the case locations, the researchers will conduct in-person interviews with organizational leaders, observe recovery committee and community meetings, document recovery events, and analyze community reconstruction and rehabilitation. This approach will provide rich information that will enable the team to compare and contrast the practices used in the different cases and develop a model of disaster recovery organizational networks. This data will allow the researchers to evaluate the organizational coordination in disaster recovery and describe interactions between various levels of government (local, regional, state, and national). Based on the project outcomes, the researchers will identify promising practices and lessons learned which can be utilized by other communities that are engaged in pre-disaster or post-disaster recovery planning.