Disaster Response: Improving Effectiveness   [open pdf - 398KB]

"This thesis reviews disaster recovery situations in an effort to identify political and bureaucratic impediments affecting responders, defined here as the managers of the overall response effort. The thesis focuses on improvements in organization, management and speed of response. It discusses local, state, and federal responsibilities in a crisis, as well as the limitations and constraints on disaster recovery efforts, with specific attention to the interaction of local, state, and federal responders. Analysis of response timing, promptness and adequacy is conducted through comparison and case study of three disasters in the United States in which local and state authorities were overwhelmed and required federal assistance. Cases presented are the Los Angeles riots of 1992 (the so-called 'Rodney King riots'), the Northridge Earthquake in 1994, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Response efforts are examined for a better understanding of problems that emerged in local, state, and federal cooperation. The thesis pays particular attention to the federal responder and the U.S. Military. Understanding legal, political, and bureaucratic impediments provides guidance on responders' limitations, constraints and opportunities and may facilitate efforts by federal responders to explore alternative methods for supporting local and state authorities."

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