+Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery; Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; U.S. Senate, Far From Home: Deficiencies in Federal Disaster Housing Assistance After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Reccomendations for Improvement S. Prt. 111-7 (PDF — 4.93 MB)
Disasters & the Law
UC Berkeley School of Law
51 entriesexpand all
+American Bar Association (ABA), Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Animal Law Committee, Animal Disaster Relief Network
+Broache, Anne, c|net News.Com, Katrina Spurs Federal Action on VoIP (September 22, 2005)
+Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Emergency Preparedness and Response
+Center for Public Integrity, Katrina Watch
For fifteen months following Hurricane Katrina, The Center for Public Integrity highlighted the best coverage of Hurricane Katrina's aftermath and tracked government contracts awarded for cleanup and reconstruction. "The Katrina Watch project presents original reports by the Center for Public Integrity and an archive of links to information culled from media and government Web sites." -Center for Public Integrit, Katrina Watch
+Chertoff, Michael, Designation of Principal Federal Official for Hurricane Katrina (August 30, 2005) (PDF — 157K)
+Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; United States Senate; Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, Far From Home: Deficiencies in Federal Disaster Housing Assistance After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Recommendations for Improvement (PDF — 4.93M)
+Department for International Development, United Kingdom (DFID), Publications Theme: Humanitarian Disasters
+Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Office of the Inspector General, Richard L. Skinner, FEMA's Disaster Assistance Improvement Plan (PDF — 1.25 MB)
+DisasterAssistance.gov, DisasterAssistance.gov: Access to Help and Resources
+Duke Law Journal, "36th Annual Duke Administrative Law Conference -- Administrative Law and Emergency Management: Katrina and Beyond" (March 24, 2006) (webcast)
+Emergency Information Infrastructure Partnership; Emergency Management Forum (EMForum), America's Under Served Communities: A Group Discussion on the Challenges of Rural Emergency Management
+Emergency Information Infrastructure Project (EIIP), Emergency Management Forum (EMF)
"The Emergency Information Infrastructure Project is a non-profit educational organization, dedicated to enhancing the practice of emergency management, and thereby public safety, through offering professional development opportunities to practitioners and other interested persons. The principal way we work to achieve this goal is through presentation in the 'Virtual Forum' of timely, disaster-related topics by experts in their fields, by means of Internet-based 'Live Chat' (text) technology. There is no charge to participants, and all are welcome."—Website.
Site includes transcripts and podcasts of discussions among experts on disaster response and prevention issues.
+Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Emergency Alert System (EAS)
"The Emergency Alert System (EAS) is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters, cable television systems, wireless cable systems, satellite digital audio radio service (SDARS) providers and, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) service providers to provide the communications capability to the President to address the American public during a National emergency. The system also may be used by state and local authorities to deliver important emergency information such as AMBER alerts and weather information targeted to a specific area.
"The FCC, in conjunction with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Weather Service (NWS), implement EAS at the federal level. The President has sole responsibility for determining when the EAS will be activated at the national level, and has delegated this authority to the director of FEMA. FEMA is responsible for implementation of the national-level activation of EAS, tests, and exercises. The NWS develops emergency weather information to alert the public of imminent dangerous weather conditions.
"The FCC's role includes prescribing rules that establish technical standards for EAS, procedures for EAS participants to follow in the event EAS is activated, and EAS testing protocols. Additionally, the FCC ensures that EAS state and local plans developed by industry conform to the FCC EAS rules and regulations." — Website.
+Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Incident Management System
+Gordon-Murnane, Laura, Government Contracts and Katrina (BNA's Web Watch) (February 2006)
+Hanson, Kenneth & Victor Oliveira, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Economic Research Service, The 2005 Gulf Coast Hurricanes' Effect on Food Stamp Program Caseloads and Benefits Issued (PDF — 568K)
"In fall 2005, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma devastated areas along much of the Gulf Coast, resulting in greater demand for food stamps by millions of Gulf Coast State residents and evacuees.
"During disasters, USDA delivers emergency food assistance in two ways. Initially, emergency food commodities are provided to shelters, to other mass feeding sites, and directly to households when normal commercial channels of food distribution may be disrupted. USDA also issues emergency food stamps through the Disaster Food Stamp Program (DFSP), an extension of the regular Food Stamp Program. Under the DFSP, eligibility requirements are temporarily relaxed so that benefits can be quickly provided to households that may not ordinarily qualify for food stamps but suddenly need food assistance.
"The Federal response to the disasters has received much attention; information about food stamp use will help provide a more complete picture of the use of public assistance both during and after the hurricanes. To provide this information, we examined the effect of the hurricanes on food stamp caseloads and benefits issued.
"One effect of the hurricanes was a dramatic spike in both Food Stamp Program caseloads and benefits issued. In November 2005, 29.7 million people received food stamps, the largest number ever to receive food stamps in a single month and about 4 million—or 15 percent—more than just 3 months earlier." —Report Summary
Links to report summary and full report in PDF format.
+The Henry L. Stimson Center, New Information and Intelligence Needs in the 21st Century Threat Environment (PDF — 1.2M)
"This study examines some key issues about information support to policymakers that have arisen in the information age. The challenge of providing the right information to the right people has been compounded by the challenge of terrorism and shifts in governments' priorities and in governmental organization that deal with various threats to national and human security. This problem set is not unique to the United States, and the study looks at the European Union and selected EU member states as an important point of comparison, and as a critical partner for information sharing and problem solving.
"The Stimson Center, in collaboration with the Swedish Emergency Management Agency (SEMA)and the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, embarked on a year-long exploration of three distinct information cultures ??? terrorism, public health, and natural hazards ??? to illuminate problems within and between those distinct expert communities in providing information to key decision-makers and crisis managers. We are grateful to SEMA and to DHS for their financial support, and for their expert participation in a series of workshops and conversations that contributed to this report. Several dozen people of diverse expertise, in government and out, agreed to be interviewed for this study, and we are indebted to them for the insights and information they provided.
"The Stimson team included: Julie Fischer, Senior Associate and director of our work on global health security, Jesper Gronvall, former representative of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs resident at Stimson, Aditi Hate, Research Associate, Rebecca Bornstein, Scoville Fellow, summer interns Amanda Greenland and Anita Ravishankar, and Peter Roman, former Senior Associate responsible for homeland security analysis." —Preface.
+Homeland Security Council, National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza (May 2006) (PDF — 2.5M)
"This Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza further clarifies the roles and responsibilities of governmental and non-governmental entities, including Federal, State, local, and tribal authorities and regional, national, and international stakeholders, and provides preparedness guidance for all segments of society. The Plan addresses the following topics:
- U.S. Government Planning and Response
- International Efforts and Transportation and Borders
- Protecting Human Health
- Protecting Animal Health
- Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Security
- Institutional Considerations"
+International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), U.S. Government Affairs Committee, IAEM Calls for Additional Work on the National Response Framework; Robert C. Bohlmann, CEM, Testifies on Readiness in the Post-Katrina and Post 9-11 World (September 11, 2007)
+Internet Archive, Hurricane Katrina & Rita Web Archive
+J. Dexter Peach, Assistant Comptroller General, Resources, Community, and Economic Development Division of United States Government Accounting Office (GAO), Disaster Management: Recent Disasters Demonstrate the Need to Improve the Nation's Response Strategy (Testimony before the Committee on Armed Services) (May 25, 1993) (PDF — 2.59M)
+Kapp, Lawrence; Don J. Jansen; Congressional Research Service (CRS), The Role of the Department of Defense During A Flu Pandemic (PDF — 252K)
+Klinenberg, Eric, When Chicago Baked: Unheeded Lessons from Another Great Urban Catastrophe Slate (September 2, 2005)
+Lindsay, Bruce R.; Congressional Research Service (CRS), Federal Evacuation Policy: Issues for Congress (PDF — 124 KB)
+Moore, Linda K.; Congressional Research Service (CRS), Emergency Communications: The Future of 911 (PDF — 312K)
+National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC)
"EMAC, the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, is a congressionally ratified organization that provides form and structure to interstate mutual aid. Through EMAC, a disaster impacted state can request and receive assistance from other member states quickly and efficiently, resolving two key issues upfront: liability and reimbursement. The EMAC mutual aid agreement and partnership between the member states exist because from hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to toxic waste spills, and terrorist attacks to biological and chemical incidents, all states share a common enemy: the threat of disaster.
"EMAC is the first national disaster-relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress. The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lies in its governance structure, its relationship with federal organizations, states, counties, territories, & regions, and the ability to move just about any resource one state has to assist another state, including medical resources."—What is EMAC?
+The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government; University of Albany, Disaster Recovery
"How well have federal, state, and local institutions responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita?
All of the Institute’s research, papers, and reports are made available for public use on the Institute’s Web site (www.rockinst.org). Also, the Institute regularly conducts Public Policy Forums, during which invited experts and panelists deliver presentations on critical and topical public policy issues. Guest speakers include top elected and appointed leaders from New York and other states, as well as academic experts. Through its Web site (www.rockinst.org) the Institute makes audio of our forums available so that those unable to attend in person can listen. Finally, the Institute publishes books on various public policy issues through the Rockefeller Institute Press, including New York State Government: Second Edition, the leading text on the subject for students, government officials, and citizens. The Rockefeller Institute also each year publishes the New York State Statistical Yearbook, containing a vast array of data about the state of New York." — Frequently Asked Questions
+O'Brien, William Ross; Richard Callahan; Dan M. Haverty; Ross Clayton; IBM Center for the Business of Government, Preparing For Disasters (PDF — 1.72M)
"The first essay, 'Keys to Effectively Partner in Temporary Networks,' by Ross O’brien, examines the roles of nongovernmental organizations in large-scale emergencies. He interviewed aid workers who participated in the response to the Asian Tsunami in 2004 and leaders in nonprofit organizations involved in the response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He observed a series of characteristics that helps explain why some aid organizations were more effective emergency responders. Organizations that display these characteristics are more capable of creating and using temporary networks to address a specific emergency event. He offers advice on what both nonprofit and public managers might do to prepare for such networks in advance.
Separately, but similarly, Dr. Richard Callahan and his colleagues Dr. Dan Haverty and Dr. Ross Clayton examine in the second essay, 'Emergency Management Networks in California,' how the State of California has developed a series of emergency response networks and specific tools for preparing and responding to emergencies, whether the emergencies are forest fires, homeland security events, or public health episodes. California has one of the most developed set of emergency response networks in the country, in part from its history with disasters dating back to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. a number of innovations, such as the Incident Command System, were developed by California and are now used nationally.
Together, these two essays provide useful insights for both nonprofit and public managers in preparing for potential future disasters. We hope this report will help them be more prepared." — Foreword
+Ringel, Jeanne S., et. al; Rand Corporation, Enhancing Public Health Emergency Preparedness for Special Needs Populations: A Toolkit for State and Local Planning and Response
+Staff Report for Rep. Charles Melancon, Hurricane Katrina Document Analysis: The E-Mails of Michael Brown (PDF — 56K)
+Stokes, Jon "Hannibal", Download, Burn, and Boot: Doing Disaster IT with a Shelter Lab LiveCD Build (October 3, 2005)
+Suburban Emergency Management Project (SEMP), Suburban Emergency Management Project
+Swendiman, Kathleen S.; Nancy Lee Jones; Congressional Research Service (CRS), The 2009 Influenza Pandemic: Selected Legal Issues (PDF — 460K)
"This report provides a brief overview of selected legal issues including emergency measures, civil rights, liability issues, and employment issues.
There are a number of emergency measures which may help to contain or ameliorate an infectious disease outbreak. The Public Health Service Act, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the National Emergencies Act, and the Stafford Act contain authorities that allow the Secretary of Health and Human Services or the President to take certain actions during emergencies or disasters. While the primary authority for quarantine and isolation in the United States resides at the state level, the federal government has jurisdiction over interstate and border quarantine. The federal government also issues recommendations regarding such activities as school closures and vaccination programs. States and local governments have the authority to initiate emergency measures such as mandatory vaccination orders and certain nonpharmaceutical interventions such as school closures, which may lessen the spread of an infectious disease. The International Health Regulations adopted by the WHO in 2005 provide a framework for international cooperation against infectious disease threats." — Introduction
+Tierney. Kathleen; Christine Bevc; Erica Kuligowski, Metaphors Matter: Disaster Myths, Media Frames, and Their Consequences in Hurricane Katrina The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2006; 604; 57 (PDF — 116 KB)
+United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Tourism Emergency Response Network (TERN)
+United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Law Materials
"Law is a traditional public health tool for disease prevention and health promotion. For many traditional public health problems, both acute and chronic, the role of law has been crucial in attaining public health goals, even rivaling the roles of epidemiology and laboratory science. Many of the greatest successes claimed by public health, such as high childhood immunization rates, improved motor vehicle safety, safer workplaces, and reduced tooth decay, have relied heavily on law. In the past few years, law has played an important role in the control of emerging health problems such as SARS and the threat of pandemic influenza.
"In 2000, CDC formally recognized the important role of law in public health by establishing the CDC Public Health Law Program. We are located in the Office of the Chief of Public Health Practice in the CDC Office of the Director. Our mission is to improve the health of the public through law. Our strategic goals are to: develop the legal preparedness of the public health system to address terrorism and other national public health priorities; improve the understanding and use of law as a public health tool; and establish robust partnerships to join public health practitioners with partners in key law-related sectors, such as elected officials and the legal and law enforcement communities.
"The program works to: strengthen the competencies of public health professionals, attorneys, and other practitioners to apply law to public health and increase the number of attorneys active in public health; support and conduct applied research in public health law and translate findings into practice; provide consultation and analysis in public health law to CDC programs and extramural constituents; establish partnerships among CDC and other organizations active in public health law and assist in strengthening their public health law capacity and expertise; and develop and disseminate authoritative information on public health law to the public health practice, policy, research, and education communities."—Website.
+United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health and Medical Services Support Plan for the Federal Response to Acts of Chemical/Biological (C/B) Terrorism (June 21, 1996) (PDF — 120K)
"The purpose of this Chemical/Biological (C/B) Health and Medical Services Support Plan for the Federal response to acts of C/B terrorism is to provide a coordinated Federal response for urgent public health and medical care needs resulting from C/B terrorist threats or acts in the United States.
"The principal purpose of this plan is to support the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by leading the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #8 response to the health and medical aspects of a C/B terrorist incident." —Introduction.
+United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Public Health Emergency Response: A Guide for Leaders and Responders
"This guide is for people in a state, city, county, or town who come together during times of emergency, make the tough decisions about how to manage the crisis, and put their boots on the ground to save lives and protect the health and safety of area residents.
We attempt to provide insight into what roles, resources, and tools the public health sector can bring to the emergency response table at local,
state, and federal levels. Although you may notice that many examples are focused on terrorism-related public health emergencies, the information is relevant to all kinds of public health emergencies, including natural disasters." — Introduction
+United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS),, The 2nd Annual Department of Homeland Security University Network Summit (March 19-20, 2008)
"The Office of University Programs, Science and Technology Directorate is sponsoring a summit to showcase key research and education priorities of the Department of Homeland Security Centers of Excellence, the Science and Technology Directorate and the Department of Homeland Security at large. The Summit highlights the efforts of the Office of University Programs as it continues to rise to the challenges associated with helping to protect the Nation. Subject matter experts from academia, industry, government and the international community will address the latest homeland security research and education issues in the following areas: Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events; Security of Agriculture and the Food System; Studies of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism; Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response; Chemical and Biological Threats and Countermeasures; Emerging Threats; University Programs Homeland Security Education Initiatives; International Homeland Security Research Challenges."—Website.
This website includes pdf files of speakers' presentations and facts sheets produced in conjunction with the conference.
+United States Department of Homeland Security, FEMA's Preparedness for the Next Catastrophic Disaster (PDF — 1.66M)
+United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Response Framework (NRF) Resource Center
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Actions Taken to Implement the Post-Katrina Emergency Management Reform Act of 2006 (PDF — 1.5M)
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Disaster Assistance: Federal Efforts to Assist Group Site Residents with Employment, Services for Families with Children, and Transportation (PDF — 1.07 MB)
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), GAO Reports and Testimonies Related to Disaster Preparedness, Response and Reconstruction
+United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), Hurricanes Gustav and Ike Disaster Assistance: FEMA Strengthened Its Fraud Prevention Controls, but Customer Service Needs Improvement (PDF — 480 KB)
"This report provides a limited assessment of the controls FEMA had in place for disaster assistance during the response to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike. Specifically, we discuss (1) whether certain aspects of FEMA’s fraud prevention controls have improved since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and (2) issues we identified related to the customer service provided to disaster applicants." — Introduction
+United States House of Representatives, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Hearing on FEMA Preparedness in 2007 and Beyond (July 31, 2007)
+United States National Response Team (NRT), United States National Response Team (NRT)
"The U.S. National Response Team (NRT) is an organization of 16 Federal departments and agencies responsible for coordinating emergency preparedness and response to oil and hazardous substance pollution incidents. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) serve as Chair and Vice Chair respectively. The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) and the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR part 300) outline the role of the NRT and Regional Response Teams (RRTs). The response teams are also cited in various federal statutes, including Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) ??? Title III and the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act [HMTA]."—Website.
Website includes section on applicable laws, regulations, and directives.
+University of Pennsylvania, Congressional Quarterly, and The Communications Institute (sponsors), Lessons from Hurricane Katrina: National Symposium on Risk and Disasters (December 1, 2005) (conference website)
"Hurricane Katrina not only devastated a large area of the Gulf Coast, it also raised fundamental questions about how the nation can-and should-deal with the fundamental problems of risk and responsibility.
"Nearly 300 leaders from government, business, and nonprofit organizations and journalists from throughout the nation attended the National Symposium in the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill December 1, 2005, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania, Congressional Quarterly, and The Communications Institute.
"Symposium Goals - The Symposium objectively examined the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on nearly every sector of society and involving leading experts from many of the nation's leading academic and research institutions as well as leaders from government and business and senior journalists.
"The National Symposium reviewed critical questions that must be addressed in coping with future risks and disasters: How can we best assess and prepare for the events we are most likely to face?;How can we develop the best strategies for reducing their costs and improving our response?;Who should do what-what partnerships can we build among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, and what glue can we provide to make those partnerships stick?; How should we, as a society, weigh the question of who bears the costs?; How do we deal with the important issues of equity and fairness, and how can we create mechanisms to resolve these issues as efficiently as possible?"— Conference Website.
Website contains related publications.
+Virginia State Bar, Disaster Resources