The Situational Small World of a Post-disaster Community: Insights into Information Behaviors after the Devastation of Hurricane Katrina in Slidell, Louisiana

The Situational Small World of a Post-disaster Community: Insights into Information Behaviors after the Devastation of Hurricane Katrina in Slidell, Louisiana

Date: December 2010
Creator: Slagle, Tisha Anne
Description: Catastrophes like Katrina destroy a community's critical infrastructure-a situation that instigates several dilemmas. Immediately, the community experiences information disruption within the community, as well as between the community and the outside world. The inability to communicate because of physical or virtual barriers to information instigates instant isolation. Prolonged, this scarcity of information becomes an information poverty spell, placing hardship on a community accustomed to easily accessible and applicable information. Physical devastation causes the scarcity of what Abraham Maslow calls basic survival needs-physiological, security, and social-a needs regression from the need to self-actualize, to meet intellectual and aesthetic needs. Because needs regress, the type of information required to meet the needs, also changes-regresses to information regarding survival needs. Regressed information needs requires altered information behaviors-altered methods and means to meet the information needs of the post-disaster situation. Situational information behavior follows new mores-altered norms-norms constructed for the post-disaster situation. To justify the unconventional, situational social norms, residents must adjust their beliefs about appropriate behavior. Situational beliefs support situational social norms-and situational information behaviors prevail. Residents find they must trust strangers, create makeshift messaging systems, and in some cases, disregard the law to meet their post-disaster survival needs.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
FEMA's Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer

FEMA's Disaster Declaration Process: A Primer

Date: May 18, 2011
Creator: Francis X. McCarthy
Description: The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (referred to as the Stafford Act - 42 U.S.C. 5721 et seq.) authorizes the President to issue "major disaster" or "emergency" declarations before or after catastrophes occur. Emergency declarations trigger aid that protects property, public health, and safety and lessens or averts the threat of an incident becoming a catastrophic event. A major disaster declaration, issued after catastrophes occur, constitutes broader authority for federal agencies to provide supplemental assistance to help state and local governments, families and individuals, and certain nonprofit organizations recover from the incident.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department