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Social impacts—which can be psychological, demographic, economic, or political—can result directly from physical impact and be seen immediately or can arise indirectly and develop over shorter to longer periods of chronological and social time. For many years, research on the social.

These studies both concluded no long-term social effects of disasters could be detected at the community level. In discussing their findings, the authors acknowledged that their results were dominated by the most frequent disasters—tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Moreover, most of the disasters they studied had a relatively small scope of impact and thus caused only minimal disruption to communities even in the short term.

Finally, their findings did not preclude the possibility of significant long-term impacts upon lower levels of aggregation such as the neighborhood, business, or household, or over periods of time shorter than the year interval between censuses. One significant limitation of previous studies before and after the creation of NEHRP is that they have defined the research question as whether there are long-term social effects at the community level, but a more fruitful objective would be to determine the distribution of the chronological and social time periods during which disruption is experienced at different scales of analysis e.

Such research could reveal how long it takes for the horizontal and vertical linkages in American society to produce disaster recovery resources for those in need. One type of social impact not measured by census data consists of measurements of psychosocial impacts and, indeed, research reviews conducted over a period of 25 years have concluded that disasters can cause a wide range of negative psychosocial responses Perry and Lindell, ; Bolin, ; Gerrity and Flynn, ; Houts et al.

However, there are population segments that require special attention and active outreach. These include children, frail elderly people with preexisting mental illness, racial and ethnic minorities, and families of those who have died in the disaster.

Emergency workers also need special attention because they often work long hours without rest, have witnessed horrific sights, and are members of organizations in which discussion of emotional issues may be regarded as a sign of weakness Rubin, Further, there is an increased incidence in pro-social behaviors such as donating material aid and a decreased incidence of antisocial behaviors such as crime Mileti et al. In some cases, people even engage in altruistic behaviors that risk their own lives to save others Tierney et al.

In addition, there are psychological impacts, which are called informational effects in Chapter 1. These impacts can have long-term adaptive consequences, such as changes in risk perception beliefs in the likelihood of the occurrence of a disaster and its personal consequences for the individual and increased hazard intrusiveness frequency of thought and discussion about a hazard. However, such positive informational effects of disaster experience do not appear to be large in the aggregate—resulting in modest effects on household hazard adjustment see Lindell and Perry, , for a review of the literature on seismic hazard adjustment, and Lindell and Prater, , and Lindell and Whitney, , for more recent empirical research.

The findings from the research on psychological impacts of disasters indicate that there is no need for communities to revise their recovery plans to include widespread assessments of direct and indirect psychological impacts following disasters, nor does there appear to be a major need for research on interventions for the general population. However, there is a need for research on appropriate interventions for children, and perhaps other vulnerable populations, before disasters strike.

1. Introduction

These could help them develop emotion-focused coping strategies or, as discussed later in the section on risk communication, acquire personally relevant information about hazards and hazard adjustments. The demographic impact of a disaster can be assessed by adapting the demographic balancing equation. In practice, population data are available for census divisions census blocks, block groups, or tracts rather than disaster impact areas, so GISs must be used to estimate the population change.

Moreover, population data are most readily available from decennial censuses, so the overall population change and its individual demographic components—births, deaths, immigration, and emigration—are likely to be estimated from that source e. On rare occasions, special surveys have been conducted in the aftermath of disaster e. The limited research available on demographic impacts Friesma et al.

It is widely anticipated that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the case of New Orleans will also be an exception. As noted earlier, the highly aggregated level of analysis in the Friesma and Wright studies does not preclude the possibility of significant impacts at lower levels of analysis such as the census tract, block group, or block levels. The major demographic impacts of disasters are likely to be the temporary immigration of construction workers after major disasters and the emigration of population segments that have lost housing. Other potential causes of emigration are psychological effects belief that the likelihood of disaster recurrence is unacceptably high , economic effects loss of jobs or community services , or political effects increased neighborhood or community conflict —all of which could produce significant demographic impacts at the neighborhood level.

Most of the research under NEHRP that has addressed household behavior in the aftermath of disaster has examined the recovery of households that decided to return and rebuild. A few studies have examined highly aggregated data that could only discern net migration, not in-migration and out-migration separately. Thus, research is needed to assess the extent to which households decide to leave after disaster and the ways in which these migrating households differ from those who remain as well as from the in-migrants who replace them.

Economic impacts can be divided into direct and indirect losses. The property damage produced by disasters results in direct losses that can be thought of as losses in asset value NRC, c , measured by the cost of. Disaster losses in the United States are borne initially by the affected households, businesses, and local government agencies whose property is damaged or destroyed, but some of these losses are redistributed during the disaster recovery process through insurance, grants, or subsidized loans.

Principles of Emergency Management by Michael J. Fagel (ebook)

There have been many attempts to estimate the magnitude of direct losses from individual disasters and the annual average losses from particular types of hazards e. For insured property, the insurers record the amount of the deductible and the reimbursed loss, but uninsured losses are not recorded so they must be estimated—often with questionable accuracy. The ultimate economic impacts of direct losses depend upon the disposition of the damaged assets. Some of these assets are not replaced, so their loss causes a reduction in consumption and, thus, a decrease in the quality of life or a reduction in investment and, thus, a decrease in economic productivity.

Other assets are replaced—through either in-kind donations e. In the latter case, the cost of replacement must come from some source of recovery funding, which generally can be characterized as either intertemporal transfers to the present time from past savings or future loan payments or interpersonal transfers from one group to another at a given time. Disaster relief is an interpersonal transfer, whereas hazard insurance involves both interpersonal and intertemporal transfers.

In addition to direct economic losses, there are indirect losses that arise from the interdependence of community subunits.


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Similarly, the linkages that a business has with the community are defined by the money it provides to its employees, suppliers, and infrastructure in exchange for inputs such as labor, materials and services, electric power, fuel, water or wastewater, telecommunications, and transportation. Conversely, it provides products or services to customers in exchange for the money it uses to pay its inputs. Other sources of operational vulnerability arise from dependency upon inputs as well as those who purchase its outputs—distributors and customers.

If this infrastructure support is unavailable for periods longer than these, the businesses must suspend operations even if they have suffered no damage to their structures or contents. These findings at the level of individual firms are consistent with data from regional economic models showing that disruption of transportation and utility infrastructure services causes particularly widespread and substantial economic loss e.

Principles of Emergency Management: Hazard Specific Issues and Mitigation Strategies

Since certain sectors and business types are more dependent on infrastructure, they are more vulnerable to economic loss. Small businesses, those that are in the retail sector and to a lesser extent the services sector , and those that rent rather than own their space tend to be most vulnerable Kroll et al. Tourism is also often slow to recover from disaster. Consistent with earlier conclusions about communities Wright et al. It also is important to recognize the financial impacts of recovery in addition to the financial impacts of emergency response on local government.

Costs must be incurred for damage assessment, emergency demolition, debris removal, infrastructure restoration, and replanning stricken areas. These additional costs must be incurred at a time when there are decreased revenues due to loss or deferral of sales taxes, business taxes, property taxes, personal income taxes, and user fees. The federal government will reduce the financial burden if the disaster is severe enough to warrant a Presidential Disaster Declaration PDD , but communities that do not receive a PDD must bear the burden of the recovery themselves.

There have been significant advances under NEHRP in modeling the regional economic impacts of disasters.

Thirty years ago, the literature consisted of a single conceptual discussion of the applicability of input-output models to disasters Cochrane, Twenty years later, several studies had suggested or applied several methods of regional economic modeling to the disaster problem NEHRP, ; Jones and Chang, Researchers now recognize that disasters pose fundamental challenges for. With recent advances in modeling, analysts are now able to quantitatively describe the anticipated economic impacts of future disasters—identifying sectors that would be hard hit and those that will benefit.

They are also able to assess, but to a much more limited degree, the potential economic benefits of specific pre-disaster mitigations and post-disaster responses.

Principles of Emergency Management: Hazard Specific Issues and Mitigation Strategies

Although there is an emerging technology for projecting the economic impacts of a disaster in the immediate aftermath of physical impact—or even for a disaster hypothesized in advance—local emergency managers and community economic development planners need to be able to identify the specific types of businesses in different sectors of the disaster impact area or even in unaffected areas nearby; see Zhang et al. Moreover, it is unclear if business owners can assess their future vulnerability to indirect impacts of disasters with enough accuracy to forecast their need for the disaster recovery resources made available by government agencies.

As documented through NEHRP supported research, disasters can lead to community conflict resulting in social activism and political disruption during recovery periods in the United States Bolin, , a and abroad Bates and Peacock, Victims often experience a decrease in the quality of life associated with their housing, with the following complaints being most frequent. First, availability of housing is a problem because there are inadequate numbers of housing units and delays in movement from temporary shelter to temporary housing and on to permanent housing.

Second, site characteristics are a problem because temporary shelter and temporary housing are often far from work, school, shopping, and preferred neighbors. Third, victims usually attempt to re-create pre-impact housing patterns, but this can be problematic for their neighbors if victims attempt to site mobile homes on their own lots while awaiting the reconstruction of permanent housing.

Fourth, building characteristics are a problem because of lack of affordability, inadequate size, poor quality, and designs that are incompatible with personal or cultural preferences. Fifth, neighbors also are pitted against each other when developers attempt to buy up damaged or destroyed properties and build.

Such rezoning attempts are a major threat to the market value of owner-occupied homes but tend to have less impact on renters because they have less incentive to remain in the neighborhood. There are exceptions to this generalization because some ethnic groups have very close ties to their neighborhoods, even if they rent rather than own.

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Sixth, conditions of allocation are a problem because recovery agencies impose financial conditions, reporting requirements, and onsite inspections. All of these complaints can cause political impacts by mobilizing victim groups, especially if victims with grievances have a shared identity e. The situation is especially problematic when the beliefs, values, artifacts, and behavior shared by members of a subgroup differ from those of other groups, especially the majority.


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  5. Seventh, such cultural conflicts are compounded when people differ in their beliefs about the goals of recovery—their ultimate values regarding the kind of community in which they want to live. Eighth, there is a contrast between a personalistic culture in many victim communities, which is based on bonds of affection, and the universalistic culture of the alien relief bureaucracy, which values rationality and efficiency over personal loyalty even when engaged in humanitarian activity Bolin, ; Tierney et al.

    Attempts to change prevailing patterns of civil governance can arise when individuals sharing a grievance about the handling of the recovery process seek to redress that grievance through collective action.