Faster Than a Speeding Bullet

Seven New Quick Response Reports Now On-Line

Seven new quick response reports are now available on the Natural Hazards Center’s web site. The reports analyze diverse disaster aspects, including recent tornadoes, the events of September 11, Hurricane Floyd, and earthquakes in El Salvador. Each report presents a distinct perspective of disaster recovery. The Natural Hazards Center sponsors "Quick  Response" investigations that allow researchers to visit the site of a disaster immediately after impact in order to assess response and recovery. In turn, the researchers publish summaries of their findings on the Hazards Center web site. The newest reports are:
Quick Response Report #137: Examining a "Near-Miss" Experience: Awareness, Behavior, and Post-Disaster Response Among Residents on the Periphery of a Tornado-Damage Path (20 pp.), by John P. Tiefenbacher, William Monfredo, Michelle Shuey, and Reno J. Cecora, James and Marilyn Lovell Center for Environmental Geography and Hazards Research, Department of Geography, Southwest Texas State University.

This study was conducted one week after a damaging tornado in Wisconsin to understand the nature of local warnings and the responses people had to being on the periphery of the tornado damage path. It also evaluates the effect a nearby disaster has on pledges to improve disaster preparation, awareness, and mitigation.
Quick Response Report #138: Effects of Written Disclosure on Post-Disaster Psychological Adjustment and Symptomatology (11 pp.), by H. Katherine O’Neill, Department of Psychology, North Dakota State University, and Joshua Smyth, Department of Psychology, Syracuse University.

Stress management intervention applied immediately after a traumatic experience may be effective in facilitating adjustment and in preventing the development of significant post-traumatic stress disorder. This report describes an evaluation of the psychological effectiveness of a brief structured writing task in helping victims cope with disaster trauma.
Quick Response Report #139: Field Observations of Lower Manhattan in the Aftermath of the World Trade Center Disaster: September 30, 2001 (10 pp.), by James K. Mitchell, Peter Kabachnik, Robert Donovan, Junko Noguchi, and Tom Mitchell, Department of Geography, Rutgers University.

This report examines the types of posters that were created and displayed in Lower Manhattan following the attacks on the World Trade Center. The report discusses the main types of displays, including those that express grief, describe missing persons, contain religious displays, present political commentaries, provide community announcements such as recovery meetings, and distribute government safety information.
Quick Response Report #140: The Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001: Immediate Impacts and Their Ramifications for Federal Emergency Management (17 pp.), by Claire B. Rubin and Irmak Renda-Tanali, Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management, George Washington University.

No past terrorist disaster in the U.S. has required both civilian recovery and military responses. This report discusses the defining characteristics of the attacks, the role of the media, the role of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the initial response of the U.S. Coast Guard in New York City, economic and financial impacts, damage to infrastructure, equipment losses, business interruption, human productivity, airline losses, insurance payouts, decreases in tourism, revenue losses, impacts on the stock exchanges, and donations and charities. The authors also evaluate the effects on public attitudes toward government, the new national public awareness of terrorism, public awareness of emergency management, and changes in public sector focus and workload. The authors describe anticipated changes in federal policy to better deal with such events in the future.
Quick Response Report #141: Digital Disaster Assistance: How and Why Selected Information Technology Firms Contributed to Recovery Immediately After the September 11, 2001, Terrorist Attacks (13 pp.), by Sarah Michaels, School of Planning, University of Waterloo.

 This report examines how the information technology sector combined previous disaster experience, disaster response, plans, and post-event ingenuity to deliver previously contracted services, to provide new services, and to donate humanitarian aid.
Quick Response Report #142: Disaster and Development: El Salvador 2001 (16 pp.), by Ben Wisner, Development Studies Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. The author of this report visited El Salvador, a country plagued with earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and volcanic eruptions, to study the degree of citizen involvement in the planning of recovery and the degree to which recovery was incorporating mitigation of future impacts.
• Quick Response Report #143: Multi-Organizational Coordination During the Response to the March 28, 2000, Fort Worth Tornado: An Assessment of Constraining and Contributing Factors
(14 pp.), by David A. McEntire, Emergency Administration and Planning, Department of Public Administration, University of North Texas. This report examines the factors that inhibit and facilitate coordination among disaster response organizations. The author used the tornado that struck Fort Worth, Texas, in March 2000, to evaluate various aspects of response, including warning and evacuation, medical response, search and rescue, damage assessment, debris removal, sheltering, utility provision, public information, and business resumption. He also outlines factors that both constrain and contribute to effective response.
• Quick Response Report #144: Community Response in a Terrorist Disaster
(5 pp.), by Seana Lowe, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado.

This exploratory research focuses on the motivations, observations, behaviors, and exchanges experienced by spontaneous volunteers responding to the World Trade Center attacks.
• Quick Response Report #145: Risk Factors for Death in the 8 April 1998 Alabama Tornadoes
(13 pp.), by Yuichi Ono, Department of Geography, Kent State University.

Noting that tornado deaths do not occur randomly, the author sought to understand factors that increase vulnerability to these storms by conducting a field survey of the deadly tornadoes that killed 34 people in Alabama. In this report, he presents information on the persons who died, their housing structure, their location during the tornado, the F-scale determined from the damage caused by the cyclone, and a discussion of potential survival strategies.

Center’s 2001 Annual Report Available

The Natural Hazards Center’s 2001 Annual Report is now on the Center’s web site. The report details the Center’s activities, publications, information programs, research initiatives, and more during fiscal year 2000 to 2001. The document is available in hypertext format at and PDF format at

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