USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development

Contents of Recent Issues

Volume 24, No. 3 (November 2006)

Articles by:

    Lynn Blinn-Pike, Brenda Phillips, and Patsilu Reeves, “Shelter Life After Hurricane Katrina: A Visual Analysis of Evacuee Perspectives,” pp. 303–330

      Nine survivors of Hurricane Katrina, who were residents in two Red Cross shelters, provided the researchers with a total of 90 Polaroid photographs of their lives in their respective disaster shelters. After they completed the photographic activity, they participated in semi-structured interviews about their individual photos. The following research questions were addressed to discover the emic (insider) perspectives of the shelter residents: (a) what features of shelter life did the residents photograph and discuss; and (b) what needs were evident in their photos and interviews? The results showed that the residents had particular needs related to (a) privacy, (b) interpersonal relationships, (c) security, and (d) outreach. The discussion covers recommendations for using visual research methodologies to understand the needs of shelter residents and suggests practical implications for shelter managers and other professionals serving those displaced by disaster.  (AA)

    Peter M. Ginter, W. Jack Duncan, Lisa C. McCormick, Andrew C. Rucks, Martha S. Wingate, and Maziar Abdolrasulnia, “Effective Response to Large-Scale Disasters: The Need for High-reliability Preparedness Networks,” pp. 331–349.

      A continuing preparedness challenge concerns leading, managing, and coordinating multi-agency disaster prevention and response efforts. Effective disaster prevention and response requires a network of preparedness agencies and organizations that functions as a single, high-reliability organization (HRO). High-reliability organizations have been studied extensively; however, the lessons learned in managing HROs have not been systematically applied to the management and operations of multi-agency and private sector organization networks required to respond to large-scale disasters. This paper develops and recommends a leadership and management model for creating and leading high-reliability preparedness networks (HRPNs). The paper demonstrates that the HPRN is key to effectively preparing for and responding to rapid onset disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and mass casualty terrorist events as well as evolving disasters such as infectious disease outbreaks, famines, drought, insect infestations, social system failure, and economic depression.  (AA)

    Kevin M. Simmons and Daniel Sutter, “Improvements in Tornado Warnings and Tornado Casualties,” pp. 351–369.

      Doppler radar installation by the National Weather Service (NWS) improved tornado warning performance, raising the probability of detection and mean lead time while reducing the false alarm ratio. Research on tornado casualties has established that a warning reduces tornado injuries while lead times of up to fifteen minutes also reduce tornado fatalities. In this paper we estimate the decrease in tornado casualties attributable to the observed change in the distribution of warning lead times, and thus provide evidence on the benefit to society of weather warning systems. We find that increases in warning lead times accounts for 30-50 percent of the reduction in injuries but no more than 1/4 of the reduction in fatalities which occurred with the installation of Doppler radar by the NWS. Future improvements in warning performance to further reduce tornado fatalities by 18 percent and injuries by 24 percent.  (AA)

    Lori Peek, “Transforming the Field of Disaster Research Through the Next Generation,” pp. 371–389.

      Given the importance of nurturing the next generation of hazards and disaster researchers and exposing them to the breadth, depth, and vitality of the field, surprisingly little has been written that explicitly addresses this topic. In this article, I examine the role of research centers in transforming the field of disaster research and specifically focus on the responsibility of research centers in educating and mentoring new scholars, who in turn will influence the future directions of the field. I discuss five aspects of training new researchers that I consider essential: (a) fostering commitment to the field; (b) maintaining academic and professional integrity; (c) examining root causes of disasters; (d) developing and improving research agendas; and (e) disseminating research findings. The role of research centers is critical in the training process, given that there is probably no better venue for educating new scholars and ultimately encouraging innovative perspectives, generating new knowledge, advancing science, and strengthening the field.  (AA)

Feedback from the Field

    Semoon Chang, Chris Denson, and Kevin Anson, “Estimation of Financial Losses to Alabama’s Seafood Industry Due to Hurricane Katrina,” pp. 391–402.

    Koichi Shiwaku, “Promotion of Disaster Education in Nepal: The Role of Teachers as Change Agents,” pp. 403–420.

Book Review by:

    Andrew Collins, on I. Ohta and Y. S. Gebre (eds.), Displacement Risks in Africa: Refugees, Resettlers and Their Host Population, pp. 421–427.


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