What We Can Learn from New Jersey’s Sandy Recovery

We can only hope that we learn from disasters so that the next ones aren’t as damaging. So here’s what some experts are saying we can learn from New Jersey’s Sandy recovery experience, as reported by www.njspotlight.com.

Although the hurricane was its own natural, tragic disaster, NJ Spotlight describes a kind of manmade disaster that followed immediately in its wake.

“Storm victims were forced to spend month after month standing in lines, waiting on hold, and taking days off from work to fill out reams of paperwork, only to later be told their files had been lost. Some residents were denied for funding but later found out they should have been accepted. And people struggling to make ends meet -- displaced and having to pay for rental housing while simultaneously paying a mortgage and taxes on their old, unlivable homes -- have endured lengthy delays to get money to rebuild without ever being given a clear indication of what’s holding up the process or where exactly their application stands. The sad fact of the matter is that this is hardly a new or unique story. Even worse delays have plagued New York City’s Sandy recovery; there were numerous stumbles in Texas after Hurricane Ike; and a myriad of problems continue to hold back Louisiana from fully recovering, even now, nearly a decade after Katrina.” (link to article below)

After interviewing various experts, NJ Spotlight found that there’s no one single solution to this issue, it’s more like a mix of different steps that need to be taken at the state and federal levels to ensure a smoother disaster response in the future. According to NJ Spotlight, experts say we need to completely rethink all stages of the recovery process, including planning and hiring decisions, and management oversight.

Here’s a list of the five key lessons NJ Spotlight discovered, as reported in the article:

5 Key Lessons

  1. “Reduce the amount of federal bureaucracy.”
  2. “Use homegrown help.”
  3. “Provide more oversight for private contractors.”
  4. “Develop a skilled, post-disaster workforce.”
  5. “Create a ‘cookbook’ to help states and cities better and more quickly recover.”


For explanations of these lessons from the experts NJ Spotlight interviewed, click here for the original article: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/10/31/what-new-jersey-s-sandy-recovery-experience-has-taught-us/