A five-year retrospective of the response and results of the Red Cross to the hurricanes of 2005. Includes a timeline, accounts of accomplishments of the organization and its volunteers, and lessons learned to prepare for future disasters.
"During the 1918 influenza pandemic, the U.S., unlike Europe, put considerable effort into public health interventions. There was also more geographic variation in the autumn wave of the pandemic in the U.S. compared with Europe, with some cities seeing only a single large peak in mortality and others seeing double-peaked epidemics. Here we examine whether differences in the public health measures adopted by different cities can explain the variation in epidemic patterns and overall mortality observed. We show that city-specific per-capita excess mortality in 1918 was significantly correlated with 1917 per-capita mortality, indicating some intrinsic variation in overall mortality, perhaps related to sociodemographic factors. In the subset of 23 cities for which we had partial data on the timing of interventions, an even stronger correlation was found between excess mortality and how early in the epidemic interventions were introduced. We then fitted an epidemic model to weekly mortality in 16 cities with nearly complete intervention-timing data and estimated the impact of interventions. The model reproduced the observed epidemic patterns well. In line with theoretical arguments, we found the time-limited interventions used reduced total mortality only moderately (perhaps 10-30%), and that the impact was often very limited because of interventions being introduced too late and lifted too early. San Francisco, St. Louis, Milwaukee, and Kansas City had the most effective interventions, reducing transmission rates by up to 30-50%. Our analysis also suggests that individuals reactively reduced their contact rates in response to high levels of mortality during the pandemic."—Abstract.
"The legal system ostensibly plays a central role in disaster prevention, response, and management. Attorneys, members of the judiciary, and decision-makers at every level of government must anticipate and respond to disasters in a coordinated manner. It is increasingly clear, however, that the law is woefully unprepared to handle disasters. A growing community of academics recognizes this problem, and is formulating solutions under the rubric of disaster law. This emerging legal academic field encompasses a wide-ranging, intra- and inter-disciplinary body of thought, research and dialogue which seeks to inform and improve disaster-related decision-making.
"On June 25th, 2007, eighteen law professors and legal practitioners who count disasters among their primary research interests, gathered at U.C. Berkeley Law School to chart disaster law's course for the immediate and long-term future. Appendix A, Workshop Participants and Agenda. Over the course of the day, participants highlighted a wide variety of important intellectual concerns and potential problem-solving strategies regarding disaster management.
"In a series of productive discussions, participants first addressed central normative issues of disaster law, including terminology and the role of the legal academy. The group then addressed four sub-areas of disaster law: international collaboration, social justice, compensation and insurance, and prevention and response. Participants' recommendations for action included the creation of an annual disaster law conference, the integration of disaster law into law teaching, and an increased internet presence.
"This white paper, a record of the milestone June 25th workshop, is intended as a
tool for use by disaster law practitioners and academics in mapping the direction and
future of the field."—Executive Summary.
"Drawing on exclusive interviews with federal, state, and local officials, Cooper and Block take readers inside the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security to reveal the inexcusable mismanagement during Hurricane Katrina—the bad decisions that were made, the facts that were ignored, the individuals who saw that the system was broken but were unable to fix it." — Book Description, Amazon.com
"In light of the catastrophic impact of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, controversy has arisen over whether state and local organizations have overemphasized preparedness for terrorism at the expense of emergency preparedness for natural disasters. Our survey results suggest that the events of 9/11 spurred response organizations not only to undertake preparedness activities for terrorism-related incidents—e.g., updating response plans to address chemical, biological, radiological/ nuclear, and explosives (CBRNE) incidents—but also to make general improvements in emergency response, including updating mutual-aid agreements and participating in joint preparedness activities with other organizations. All these activities support overall preparedness for any catastrophic event."—Summary.
"Throughout this post-Katrina period, FEMA has remained dedicated to helping Louisiana families and communities recover. To date, in partnership with and in support of the state of Louisiana, we have provided more than $15.2 billion in assistance. We maintain our steadfast commitment to the resilient survivors of Louisiana as they continue along the path to full recovery.
"So, on the 5th anniversary of this unprecedented event, we can say that a lot has been accomplished, but we an also say that a lot remains to be done. FEMA is committed to being here for as long as it takes to fully recover, and we’re working to do so in a way that builds, sustains and improves south Louisiana’s capability to protect against future hazards."—Mike Karl, EMA Louisiana Recovery Office Interim Director, "Unprecedented Disaster, Unprecedented Recovery."
"Recent events such as Hurricane Katrina and the global SARS outbreak underscore the importance of having public health and medical systems that are prepared to increase surge capacity in a variety of emergency scenarios. A core component to increasing surge capacity is the availability of skilled health professionals to supplement the existing health workforce.
"This article examines the legal context volunteer health professional find themselves in during public health emergencies and disasters. In addition, the article makes several recommendations about how to refine the law to increase the availability of volunteer health professionals during public health emergencies and disasters. First, states should incorporate advance registration systems and protections for volunteers into laws that authorize emergency preparedness and response efforts. These laws should explicitly define the powers of state government during emergencies and clarify the legal provisions applicable to VHPs and the entities or organizations that may rely on them. Second, a floor of legal protections for volunteers is essential to achieve a minimum level of uniformity among the states and facilitate multi-jurisdictional cooperation in emergency response. Third, the scope and breadth of state based volunteer registries must be expanded to ensure comprehensive and coordinated emergency response efforts among states. Fourth, laws must ensure balanced civil liability protections for VHPs and their host entities by creating responsible immunity protections and alternative mechanism to compensate injured patients. Fifth, states are encouraged to enact laws and regulations providing for license portability during emergencies. Sixth, VHPs should be vested with workers' compensation protections for injuries, disabilities, or deaths experienced while carrying out their duties. Finally, state and federal laws should confer robust privacy protections on volunteer registries, implement fair information practices to allow VHPs and patients to access and verify registry data, and simultaneously ensure responsible access to and use of registry information to mount an effective response."
"This symposium provides a forum for scholars to begin conceptualizing a new field of legal scholarship devoted to catastrophic risks. It is hard to think of anything equally important that has received so little sustained attention from lawyers and law professors. Hurricane Katrina involved over a thousand deaths and $100 billion in losses. There is no reason to consider Katrina the 'worst case scenario.' Yet, scholars have not yet systematically addressed the legal and policy issues posed by major disasters. Ultimately, the goal should be assembling the best portfolio of social policies, institutions, and legal rules to deal with catastrophic risks—a portfolio that includes prevention measures, mitigation incentives, emergency response strategies, liability rules, insurance, and reconstruction planning. In this symposium, papers by legal scholars and policy analysts will address these as well as other issues relating to this critically important subject."—Dan Farber, Editor, Introduction. Access to this bepress journal requires a subscription.
"The Comptroller General has suggested one area for fundamental reform and oversight is ensuring a strategic and integrated approach to prepare for, respond to, recover, and rebuild after catastrophic events. FEMA enters the peak of the 2007 hurricane season as an organization in transition working simultaneously to implement the reorganization required by the Post-Katrina Reform Act and moving forward on initiatives to address the deficiencies identified by the post-Katrina reviews. This is an enormous challenge. In the short-term, Congress may wish to consider several specific areas for immediate oversight. These include (1) evaluating the development and implementation of the National Preparedness System, including preparedness for natural disasters, terrorist incidents, and an influenza pandemic; (2) assessing state and local capabilities and the use of federal grants to enhance those capabilities; (3) examining regional and multi-state planning and preparation; (4) determining the status and use of preparedness exercises; and (5) examining DHS polices regarding oversight assistance."—What GAO Found.
"The tool-kit is comprised of six checklists in three categories that address specific contingency planning recommendations
to follow Before, During and After a disruption or crisis situation occurs. The Planning Phase, Before the disaster, describes the process of preparing plans and procedures and testing those plans to prepare for a possible network failure. The Execution Phase, During the disaster, describes a coordinated strategy involving system reconstitution and outlines actions that can be taken to return the IT environment to normal operating conditions. The Final Phase, After the disaster, describes the transitions and gap analysis that takes place after the disaster has been mitigated. The tool-kit also provides an accompanying group activity worksheet, 'Thinking Sideways,' to assist in disaster recovery planning sessions with critical staff."—How to Use the Tool-kit.
"In today's world, emergencies and disasters take many forms, including natural disasters, technological and infrastructure failures, terrorist attacks, and health emergencies such as pandemic disease outbreaks. An effective crisis-management program will encompass five critical components: an assessment of the threats facing the state; development of a plan to mitigate those threats; development of a strategy to prepare for all hazards; a comprehensive and well-tested response plan; and a plan for short- and long-term recovery. This document focuses primarily on the preparedness and response components of a state's crisis-management program."—Executive Summary.
"The Natural Hazards Review stands on the realization that natural disaster losses result from interactions between the physical world, the constructed environment, and the character of the societies and people who occupy them. The journal is dedicated to bringing together the physical, social, and behavioral sciences; engineering; and the regulatory and policy environments to provide a forum for cutting edge, holistic, and cross-disciplinary approaches to natural hazards loss and cost reduction.... Social and behavioral sciences topics addressed include a range of issues related to hazard mitigation and human response as well as significant issues related to the built environment such as land use, building standards, and the role of financial markets and insurance."—Aim and Scope.
"A comprehensive resource for healthcare planners and practitioners, the new guidance offers information and tools to assist the industry in preparing for and responding to an influenza pandemic. It includes technical information on infection control and industrial hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection in healthcare settings; workplace preparations and planning issues; and OSHA standards that have special importance to pandemic preparedness planners and responders in the industry."—OSHA News Release (May 21, 2007)
+Peek, Lori (Editor), Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design, Special Issue: Children and Disasters Children, Youth and Environments Journal, v. 18, no.1 (2008)
This special issue includes a collection of 20 papers from around the world, 4 book reviews, a media review and and an annotated compilation of resources focusing on children and youth before, during and after disasters occur.
"The purpose of this compendium is to summarize the ongoing and planned activities of the Inspectors General community in their oversight of response and recovery efforts related to Hurricane Katrina. The compendium includes the activities of those OIGs whose Departments were part of the initial response phase or have received significant mission assignments from FEMA."—Introduction and Background.
"This Flood Management White Paper presents an overview of the current condition of flood management in the Central Valley and outlines a plan to reduce flood risks through an integrated approach for better planning, new investments, improved management of our infrastructure and closer collaboration between water agencies and users."—Executive Summary.
The Report covers the work of the Legislature's Office of Emergency Service and makes suggestions for what OES should be doing to improve California's ability to respond to a catastrophic event. It criticizes the lack of integration and unity of emergency response services among state, local, and private providers. More hopefully, the Report describes
that funding is available from the federal government to help the state move forward and suggests ways to better target funding. Finally, the Report concludes by stressing the need for greater accountability for both the planning and effectiveness of programs.
"This testimony addresses the [federal executive boards']emergency support roles and responsibilities, their potential role in pandemic influenza preparedness, and some of the key challenges they face in providing emergency support services."—Why GAO Did This Study
"This testimony addresses (1)federal leadership roles and responsibilities for preparing for and responding to a pandemic, (2) our assessment of the Strategy and Plan, and (3)opportunities to increase clarity of federal leadership roles and responsibilities and improve pandemic planning."&mdash:Why GAO Did This Study
"Mayors acknowledge that more must be done at every level of government to make sure that cities, and the nation, are able to respond to the growing challenges of homeland security and emergency response. 'This new survey shows that we must further strengthen our partnership with the federal government to make sure that our
domestic "first preventers" and "first responders" have the resources and training they need to succeed, and that
all necessary federal support is ready in the event of a major disaster,' [Conference of Mayors President, Dearborn Mayor Michael] Guido said."—Press Release.
"The failure of local, state, and federal governments to respond more effectively to Katrina ? which had been predicted in theory for many years, and forecast with startling accuracy for five days ? demonstrates that whatever improvements have been made to our capacity to respond to natural or man-made disasters, four and half years after 9/11, we are still not fully prepared. Local
first responders were largely overwhelmed and unable to perform their duties, and the National Response Plan did not adequately provide a way for federal assets to quickly supplement or, if necessary, supplant first responders."
"The Office of Inspector General conducted a review to identify the actions taken by the Department of Energy (Department) in response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, specifically to assess whether these actions fulfilled the Department's obligations as outlined in the Department of Homeland Security's National Response Plan under its current organization. In our judgment, under very difficult circumstances, the Department deserves high marks for its timely and responsive actions. While the actions were commendable, we identified certain additional approaches which we believe could improve the Department's response to future Emergency Support Function-12 (ESF-12) missions. These are discussed in the body of the report."&mdashMemorandum for the Secretary.
"This annex formally establishes a standard and comprehensive approach to national planning. It is meant to provide guidance for conducting planning in accordance with the Homeland Security Management System in the National Strategy for Homeland Security of 2007. Planning is one of the eight national priorities set forth in the National Preparedness Guidelines and it is a target capability is across all homeland security mission areas."—Abstract
"The purpose of the Integrated Planning System (IPS) is to further enhance the
preparedness of the United States1 by formally establishing a standard and comprehensive
approach to national planning. It is meant to provide guidance for conducting planning in
accordance with the Homeland Security Management System (HSMS), described in the National
Strategy for Homeland Security of 2007."—Foreword
"We seek continually to improve the operations of the Department, to discharge our duty of safeguarding the home front. This includes:
1. Clarifying, defining, and communicating leadership roles, responsibilities, and lines of authority at all government levels;
2. Strengthening accountability systems that balance the need for fast, flexible response with the need to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse;
3. Consolidating efforts to integrate the Department's critical mission of preparedness; and
4. Enhancing our capabilities to respond to major disasters and emergencies, including catastrophic events, particularly in terms of situational assessment and awareness, emergency communications, evacuations, search and rescue, logistics, and mass care and sheltering." —Letter from the Secretary.
"This report addresses FEMA's preparedness for the next catastrophic disaster. It is based on interviews with employees and officials of relevant agencies and institutions, direct observations, and a review of applicable documents. It is our hope that this report will result in more effective, efficient, and economical operations."—Preface
An extensive report of assessments of Federal and State evacuation plans, including findings and recommendations relating to decision making and management, planning, public communication and preparedness, evacuation of people with special needs, evacuation operations, sheltering, and training and exercises.
"Using lessons from the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes, the federal government released the National Response Framework (NRF) in January 2008. This report examines (1) why the primary role for mass care in the NRF shifted from the Red Cross to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and potential issues with implementation, (2) whether National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD)—an umbrella organization of 49 voluntary agencies—is equipped to fulfill its NRF role, (3) the extent to which FEMA has addressed issues with mass care for the disabled since the hurricanes, (4) the extent to which major voluntary agencies have prepared to better serve the disabled since the hurricanes, and (5) the extent to which FEMA has addressed issues voluntary agencies faced in receiving Public Assistance reimbursement. To analyze these issues, GAO reviewed the NRF and other documents, and interviewed officials from FEMA, voluntary agencies, and state and local governments."—Why GAO Did This Study
"Despite the understanding of the Gulf Coast's particular vulnerability to hurricane devastation, officials braced for Katrina
with full awareness of critical deficiencies in their plans and gaping holes in their resources. While Katrina's destructive force could not be denied, state and local officials did not marshal enough of the resources at their disposal."—Executive Summary.
"Disaster planning for health care providers following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and, more recently, Hurricane Katrina, focuses on preparing hospitals and other emergency services to respond to victims' medical needs. But little attention has been paid to the challenges that providers would face resuming normal operations after the catastrophe. A large-scale disaster could create unprecedented demand for health care and emergency services. Hospitals already struggle to meet the high demand for and high costs of emergency care, and they would face additional challenges in the aftermath of a catastrophic event. Strained capacity and financial reserves may force hospitals to close, just as occurred with the two largest public hospitals in New Orleans following Katrina. To prevent the initial terrorist-related or natural disaster from spiraling into a lasting access-to-care crisis, this Article proposes a government disaster relief plan to stabilize the health care industry before the next catastrophe and prevent interruption of services during the recovery." —Abstract.
"This paper was presented at DePaul University in March 2006, as part of a Symposium on Shaping a New Direction for Law and Medicine: An International Debate on Culture, Disaster, Biotechnology & Public Health. Following the catastrophic events of 2005, including Hurricane Katrina, Pakistani Earthquakes, bird flu transmission to human populations, and the real threat of bioterrorism, government struggled in the aftermath to make sense of the devastation and human displacement. Medical teams, try as they might, are not always prepared and alerted as to how best investigate and quickly render assistance. The Symposium addressed the role of government, policy-makers, community organizations, the World Health Organization and other key players in properly situating and providing relief to respond to these issues. My paper describes both the immediate and lasting impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Region's health care infrastructure and recommends approaches to prevent similar devastating effects in future disasters." —Abstract.
"The purpose of this guidance is to provide emergency planners with nuclear-detonation specific response recommendations to maximize the preservation of life in the event of an urban nuclear detonation."—Introduction