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The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government

Disaster Recovery

Disaster Recovery

Responding to Sea Level Change in the Northeast

Sea level rise in the Northeast is a regional problem that requires a coordinated regional response. In this report, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow James W. Fossett and University of Buffalo Research Professor Kathryn Friedman examine the possibilities for coordinated regional action to address this difficult problem in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
By James W. Fossett, March, 2014

Let's Stop Improvising Disaster Recovery

In this insightful observation piece, Rockefeller Institute Senior Fellow Dr. James Fossett indicates that improved disaster recovery from major natural and man-made disasters is possible through strategic planning, careful coordination between various levels of government, and the development of easily accessible response mechanisms.
By James W. Fossett, July, 2013

Sandy's First Birthday — is it a Happy One?

The recovery from Superstorm Sandy at the first anniversary of landfall, in short, is still very much a work in progress and likely will be for some time to come.
By James W. Fossett, January, 2013

A Tale of Two Hurricanes

If the experience of Hurricane Katrina is any guide, writes Institute Senior Fellow Fossett, recovering from Hurricane Sandy will be lengthy and conflictual. Fossett calls for consideration of major changes in policies and institutions to expedite recovery from megastorms.
By James W. Fossett, January, 2013

The Changing Face of Disaster Relief Politics

The nasty, rancorous debate in Washington over the relief package for Hurricane Sandy may signal a troubling shift in disaster relief politics. Historically, Congress has acted swiftly to approve requests for increasingly generous funding for recovery and rebuilding in a bipartisan fashion. By contrast, the debate over relief for Sandy victims stretched out over two Congresses and was marked by sharp partisan and regional divisions which required considerable political maneuvering to resolve. The internal political structure of Congress and the fiscal pressures that gave rise to these divisions seem likely to persist, meaning that rancorous, difficult politics may be the “new normal” for disaster relief.
By James W. Fossett, September, 2012

Who’s in Charge? Who Should Be? — The Role of the Federal Government in Megadisasters: Based on Lessons from Hurricane Katrina

This report recommends the federal government response to disasters should be changed to allow the president to appoint quickly a special Officer-in-Charge — with pre-approved discretionary funding — to oversee and coordinate government efforts following a major catastrophic event.
By Richard P. Nathan and Marc Landy, June 2, 2009

The Transformation That Fell Short: Bush, Federalism, and Emergency Management

Wrapping up a study of the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on America’s governments, this report finds that “traditional federalism” won out over the Bush administration’s attempt to centralize and nationalize emergency management. States and localities continued to be relied on for disaster response.
By Martha Derthick, August 2009

Three Years After Katrina and Rita, Challenges Remain

The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, an Institute partner in a study of governmental response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, examines misconceptions state and local officials continue to face. Mistaken notions about recovery reinforce “Katrina fatigue” in Washington, D.C., and across the nation.
By Karen Rowley, December 8, 2008

The Role of Community Rebuilding Plans in the Hurricane Recovery

The recovery process in communities damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 has begun accelerating – but officials who once talked optimistically of rapid rebuilding now talk of 10-year timeframes for recovery.
By Karen Rowley, June 3, 2008

Response, Recovery, and the Role of the Nonprofit Community in the Two Years Since Katrina and Rita

This fifth report on the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Gulf region governments, concentrates on the critical, successful role nonprofit groups have played in response and recovery.
By Karen Rowley, October 15, 2007

Spending Federal Disaster Aid: Comparing the Process and Priorities in Louisiana and Mississippi

This report highlights the roadblocks Louisiana and Mississippi grappled with as they steered federal funding to areas in need.
By Jennifer Pike, September 2007

A Year and a Half after Katrina and Rita, an Uneven Recovery

A look at how recovery efforts from hurricanes Katrina and Rita stood after two years, in 22 communities across Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
By Karen Rowley, 2007

An Examination of the Impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on the Public School Districts in 15 Communities

The effect of the hurricanes and recovery process on public schools in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.
By Karen Rowley, 2007

The First GulfGov Report: Status Report After the First Year of Recovery Efforts

A broad look at how the storms have changed impacted communities, including state and local economies, the role of nonprofits in relief and recovery efforts and plans for rebuilding.
By Karen Rowley, 2006