The harsh toll Hurricane Dorian took on the Bahamas, Southeastern United States, and Atlantic Canada is a cruel, but unfortunately familiar story. As Climate Change worsens and strong storm systems become more frequent, a high level of preparedness should be built into every local government’s plan. Not just for a hurricane itself, but also for a quick, substantive recovery and comprehensive rebuild. Now that the storm has passed, many cities and states will be looking toward the next step.
Following Hurricane Harvey in 2017, we published what we call the Seven Principles for Disaster Recovery. Here’s a quick refresher:
- Securing help from government of all levels is accessible, understandable and timely.
- Everyone in need receives safe, temporary, accessible housing where they can reconnect with family and community.
- Displaced people have access to all the resources they need to recover housing, personal property and transportation; disaster rebuilding jobs and contracts are locally sourced and provide fair wages.
- Everyone is fairly assisted to fully and promptly recover through transparent and accountable programs and compliance with civil rights laws, with survivors having a say in the way assistance is provided.
- All homeowners are able to quickly repair or rebuild in safe, quality neighborhoods of their choice that fit the needs of their families.
- Renters quickly get quality, affordable, accessible rental property in safe, quality neighborhoods of their choice that fits the needs of their families.
- All neighborhoods are free from environmental hazards, have equal quality public infrastructure, and are safe and resilient.
We’ve all seen the striking images: families standing in the rubble of what used to be their homes and neighborhoods, wondering where do they go from here? With that in mind, all of us should dig deep to help however we can, but we also should call on those who are in charge on the Atlantic coastline to make sure everyone’s needs are equitably addressed following this devastating storm.
When a community is struck with a weather event of this magnitude, there can be a feeling of panic. Local and state governments all have disaster plans at the ready to field the most arduous of initial dangers. However, the Seven Principles of Disaster Recovery can be used as a rubric to ensure those plans are aiding all disaster victims throughout their entire road back to recovery, not simply the privileged few who can afford the unexpected expenses a storm can bring.
The best way for these governments to use their power is to make sure all residents are given an equitable opportunity to bounce back. These families need local and state governments, FEMA, and HUD all to be on the same page and to act swiftly with resources and clear direction. It is within their capacity, it just takes organization and prioritization of their most important goal: serve the public.
For more on Hurricane Survivor Recovery Rights, Principles and Initiatives click here.