Disaster recovery

The actions carried out prior to, during, and following catastrophic events are included in disaster recovery. The initiatives are made to lessen the effects of catastrophes in order to protect people and property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the entity in charge of planning and carrying out catastrophe recovery operations in the United States. (FEMA). Depending on the scope of a catastrophe, its staff or employees from governmental and non-governmental organizations may serve as its workforce. It is funded by the federal government. The recent Hurricane Irma, which claimed over 100 lives and caused damage totaling over $60 billion, is an illustration of a catastrophe recovery scenario. With the help of other national and international organizations, FEMA managed to evacuate residents to safer places in anticipation of eventualities such as flooding, landslides, and high waves.

Key words: disaster recovery, Hurricane Irma, FEMA.

Disaster Recovery in the United States: Hurricane Irma

Disaster recovery plays a significant role in mitigating the impacts of tragedies such as floods, fires, and hurricanes among others. Primarily, the process focuses on reducing the damage and fatalities caused by disasters considering that it is almost impossible to predict accidents (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2017). Therefore, disaster recovery management focuses on identifying possible hazards and taking the necessary precautions to, at least, reduce any potential harm. The central idea of disaster recovery management, therefore, is to engage stakeholders before, during, and after disaster strikes. The approach ensures that the rescue process does not worsen the situation for the affected or create risks for the rescuers (Aldrich & Crook, 2013). This paper analyzes the disaster recovery efforts during Hurricane Irma.


Hurricane Irma formed on 30th August 2017 along the US west coast and the surrounding Caribbean islands. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) and NASA reported that the hurricane had a potential of achieving a Category 5 status, thus speeding up to 320 kilometers per hour. In response, FEMA sought additional funding from the federal government, having spent heavily on recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey, which had struck weeks earlier (Moran, 2017). The funds would go towards evacuating families to safer grounds and providing supplies such as foodstuffs, beddings, and medicine. Between 4th and 6th September, FEMA deployed response teams to the eastern US region including Florida, Alabama, Carolina, and Texas. Alerts were also issued to neighboring counties and municipalities based on their proximity to the hurricane's estimated path. Besides, schools and other public facilities would also remain closed to avert mass casualties. At its peak between 8th and 12th September, Hurricane Irma caused the extensive damage and the loss of lives across several eastern US states and various Caribbean territories.

According to records, the hurricane was capable of causing worse damage than it did. Nevertheless, the efforts by FEMA before, during, and after the disaster played a critical role in mitigating the possible destruction. For example, the decision to evacuate residents from their homes saved many people whose houses were eventually destroyed by floods or landslides (Moran, 2017). The provision of food and medical supplies equally helped to rescue the situation at a time when sea, land, and air transport services were unavailable. The disaster recovery strategy, however, failed to plan adequately on the aftermath of the hurricane. For example, many businesses remained closed up to three weeks after the tragedy due to the lack of power and communication facilities (Waugh, 2015).

From the research, it becomes clear that the role of disaster recovery strategies in saving lives and property when tragedy strikes is vital. At the same time, it is essential to have emergency management policies that help to identify possible threats before they cause destruction. Besides, such plans must be designed to offer practical solutions before, during, and after disasters occur. Haddow, Bullock and Coppola (2017) add that it is equally imperative for stakeholders to refer to previous emergencies as these could offer insights into possible improvements to existing strategies with the aim of guaranteeing better service delivery.


Infrastructure plays a significant role in the way modern businesses operate. A disaster recovery policy should sufficiently focus on the protection or reinstatement of critical infrastructures such as water and sanitation facilities, power, the Internet, and roads. Such amenities are integral to working and earning a living. In addition to safeguarding lives, it is necessary to ensure that citizens can resume their daily activities within the shortest time (McEntire, 2009; Crowley & Flachsbart, 2017).


Aldrich, D., & Crook, K. (2013). Taking the high ground: FEMA trailer siting after Hurricane Katrina. Public Administration Review, 73(4), 613-622. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/puar.12071.

Crowley, J., & Flachsbart, P. (2017). Local debris management planning and FEMA policies on disaster recovery in the United States. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2017.10.024.

Haddow, G., Bullock, J., & Coppola, D. (2017). Introduction to emergency management. Amsterdam: Butterworth-Heinemann.

McEntire, D. (2009). Introduction to homeland security. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Moran, M. (2017). Planning and preparation help Floridians weather Hurricane Irma. Psychiatric News, 52(20), 1-1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.10b6.

Waugh, W. (2015). Living with hazards, dealing with disasters. London: Routledge.

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