RAPID: Technological versus Natural Disasters: Consequences for Early Recovery Planning and Decision-Making at the Community and Household Level
The purpose of this Rapid Response Research (RAPID) grant is to explore community and resident post-disaster recovery in two small US towns. Both towns experienced disasters in the spring of 2013, but one town experienced a natural disaster while the other town had a technological disaster. To understand how disaster recovery differs based on the type of disaster, we are comparing the immediate recovery periods in each town. Often researchers compare disaster effects across very different communities or across different time periods. Our research takes advantage of a rare opportunity to compare disaster recovery in communities that are similar in size, location, and cultural traits but faced different disasters at about the same time. We are gathering data from community leaders and residents in both towns to address topics important to disaster recovery, including post-disaster community planning, community-based recovery activities, and residents'' rebuilding or relocating decisions and efforts.Although previous research has improved what people know about disasters, how communities recover from them, and what makes communities resilient, there is still a lot to learn. The results of our research will help other communities as they plan for the disasters they face. This research responds directly to efforts by US Federal and state governments to increase the disaster resilience of local communities. Communities across the country face the risk of both types of disaster. Man-made disasters, such as industrial accidents, explosions, or chemical leaks, are a risk for any community that has hazardous facilities located near homes and businesses. Natural disasters, such as tornadoes, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, regularly occur across the country. Based on what is learned in this project, recommendations will be made about how other local communities can increase their resilience and be better able to recover from disasters when they do occur.