The National Disaster Recovery Framework is a guide that aids in efficient recovery support to the areas which are affected by the disaster. It involves collaborative involvement of the local, States, Tribes, Territorial and local jurisdictions. This Framework provides very accommodating configuration that helps disaster recovery managers to function in an integrated manner. “It also focuses on how best to restore, redevelop and revitalize the health, social, economic, natural and environmental fabric of the community and build a more resilient Nation”( National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2015).
After a disaster like an earthquake a wide variety of work commences to make sure that the affected communities health, social, economic, natural and environmental structure of the community is restored and redeveloped. It is a combined effort on behalf of the entire community in contributing towards this goal. Recovery efforts start while response is still occurring. Frame work stresses on pre-disaster and post-disaster planning (FEMA, n. d. ). According to the National Preparedness Goal, eight core capabilities are aligned with the Recovery mission area.
Three are shared with all mission areas: • Planning • Public Information and Warning • Operational Coordination Five capabilities are unique to the Recovery mission area. They align with the Recovery Support Functions listed above and are: • Economic Recovery • Health and Social Services • Housing • Infrastructure Systems • Natural and Cultural Resources (FEMA, n. d. ). Planning: It is very important to include and involve whole communities in disaster recovery activities. This helps in increasing the community resilience.
The Community Planning and Capacity Building RSF unifies and coordinates expertise and assistance programs from across the Federal Government to aid in restoring and improving the ability of Tribes, States and local governments to organize, plan, manage and implement recovery” (National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). This also helps States in cultivating a pre- and post-disaster system of assistance for their communities. This capability also provides an opportunity to incorporate the nongovernmental and private sector resources into public sector recovery planning processes.
Public Information and Warning: Public information should be very clear, concise and consistent. It also has to be culturally appropriate. It should include the latest updates. It should consider the limited English proficiency and also cater towards the people who are deaf or blind. “Public information messaging helps manage expectations throughout the recovery process and supports the development of local, State and Tribal government communications plans” (National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). This helps stakeholders understand all the resources available for assistance; requirements and time needed to achieve recovery.
This information also includes helplines and websites for recovery resources. Operational Coordination: The damage to the freeway systems after the Northridge earthquake required decision makers in the Los Angeles region, the State of California, and the Federal Government to make decisions with respect to the various challenges the affected area would encounter. “Caltrans played a key role in decision making for the region and made two key decisions quickly after the earthquake: to rebuild the damaged freeways, and to retain traveler mobility and keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible during reconstruction” (Volpe, 2002).
Data plays an important role in effective response, recovery, and mitigation after an earthquake. When data is easily accessible and internally consistent it is helpful in making decisions regarding rehabilitation, reconstruction and land-use planning following an earthquake. The USGS has implemented two main sources of database and information management: (1) collate, analyze, and synthesize data using geographic information systems (GIS) technology; and (2) publish and distribute data, research results, and other information using the Internet, particularly the World Wide Web (WWW) (USGS, n. d. ).
Economic Recovery: This capability ensures that Federal Government provides assistance to local, State, and Tribal governments. Also to make sure that private sector support in rebuilding businesses and employment in the community. This will help in fostering economic opportunities that in turn will result in supportable and financially resilient communities after natural disasters like earthquakes. Economic recovery is a vital and essential part of recovery. Disasters can destroy the economy of the community.
The time it takes for a community to recover from a disaster will affect how soon it will function as normal. Considerable Federal funds are contributed to local, State and Tribal economic recovery as well as to other areas of recovery that necessarily strengthen the economy” (National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). FEMA organized the response to the Northridge earthquake with the 27 federal agencies using the FEMA Incident Command System (ICS). “Coordinating with other federal agencies, FEMA helped make some of the big decisions involving transportation, expediting the loan process for victims, and disseminating useful information to the residents of Los Angeles County” (Volpe, 2002).
FHWA released $45 million to start clearing debris and begin demolition after the Northridge earthquake. “Total FHWA ER funds released for the Northridge earthquake were $350 million” (Volpe, 2002). Health and Social Services: This capability helps the Federal Government to help in the local recovery efforts in the reestablishment of the health care and social service networks to foster the resilience and well-being of the affected community. The Health and Social Services RSF outlines the Federal framework to support locally-led recovery efforts to address public health, health care facilities and coalitions, and essential social service’s needs” (National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). Most of the hospitals were able to provide assistance to the injured immediately. Housing: This capability addresses the housing issued and enables the distribution of Federal resources and activities to aid local, State and Tribal governments in the restoration and rebuilding of destroved and damaged buildings and houses.
And also help in providing temporary housing for the displaced people. Housing is a significant part of disaster recovery process and is very challenging (National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). Northridge recovery efforts were assisted by various local government agencies. At the time of the earthquake Los Angeles area was in recession and the housing vacancy rate at that time was 9 percent. With the help of housing aid from FEMA and HUD and the availability of undamaged units available immediately for occupancy it was easy to re-house disaster victims.
Most of the victims were placed within three to four weeks in a house comparable to their own and also preferably in their own zip codes. “The City of Los Angeles coordinated a successful effort to win $321 million of supplemental disaster relief funding from HUD to assist property owners whose requests for SBA loans or FEMA grants were denied” (California Earthquake Recovery, 2006). Infrastructure Systems: This capability for infrastructure systems helps to proficiently restore the infrastructure systems and services to sustain a viable, resilient community. The Infrastructure Systems RSF promotes a holistic approach to disaster recovery coordination, support, planning and implementation for infrastructure systems that serve the community”. “The Infrastructure Systems RSF Coordinating Agency conducts operations in accordance with its authorities and resources to provide vital public engineering services to strengthen our Nation’s security and reduce risks from disasters” (National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). After the Northridge earthquake most of the schools and businesses were closed for a week, which significantly reduced the traffic on the freeways.
Many people took time off from work to cater towards their needs to recover from earthquake. After the first week traffic started slowly increasing on the freeways. Caltrans had estimated initially 6months to a year for complete freeway repairs to be done. With contract incentives freeway repairs were expedited. Local streets were used for detours. “Caltrans also implemented an Emergency Detour Management Center with emergency communications equipment, helicopter surveillance, and traffic performance acquisition data as well as enhanced tow service, construction zone speeding enforcements, and park and ride lots” (Volpe, 2002).
The media played a vital role in informing public about the detour updates in freeway system. Daily press conferences were conducted by Caltrans to provide updated information on the rebuilding efforts plus they also advised commuters to avoid the earthquake damage areas (Volpe, 2002). Natural and Cultural Resources: This capability helps incorporate Federal resources to help State and Tribal governments and communities focus on the environmental and cultural resource recovery needs after an earthquake.
The core recovery capability for natural and cultural resources is the ability to protect natural and cultural resources and historic properties through appropriate response and recovery actions to preserve, conserve, rehabilitate, and restore them consistent with postdisaster community priorities and in compliance with appropriate environmental and cultural resources laws”( National Disaster Recovery Framework, 2011). According to an article by Stanford and Bolin, “The 1994 Northridge, California earthquake has proven to be one of the most costly disasters in United States history” (Stanford & Bolin, 1998).
There was $11 billion available in federal assistance relief in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. In spite of this assistance many people failed to get appropriate relief. This relates to the susceptibilities of a particular ethnic group. Asa result of these unmet needs of these vulnerable population9specially Latinos, farm workers and the elderly) a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become concerned and assisted in the recovery process.
As I have said in my previous posts since Northridge earthquake occurred on a holiday and early morning hours traffic was very light as compared to a regular weekday traffic, giving transportation agencies enough time to figure out the details of recovery from freeway destruction. Most of the people stayed at home and schools and businesses were closed for a week after the earthquake. This helped the transportation agencies to figure out the detours and start the recovery process. Media also played an important role in discouraging people from travelling by keeping them posted about the latest freeway situations.