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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
Addressing Social Elements of Wildfire: Risk, Response, and Recovery in Highland Village, TX

Addressing Social Elements of Wildfire: Risk, Response, and Recovery in Highland Village, TX

Date: May 2016
Creator: MacKinnon, Jessica
Description: Representatives of the City of Highland Village expressed concern over the risk of wildfires for their community. Anthropology provides many tools for and examples of disaster assessment of preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation. These tools combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can provide a holistic, cultural ecological look at how such a disaster may take place in the city. The project's methods included a detailed survey of preparedness steps which was analyzed using SPSS and also imported into ArcGIS for spatial analysis, and semi-formal, in-depth interviews with residents of the community regarding preparedness, response, and recovery. Residents fell into a middle category of preparedness, with the majority of participants considering or implementing a few recommended preparedness steps. Interview participants expressed respect for and trust of the city and first-responders, as well as a willingness to volunteer their help during response and recovery stages. Finally the American Community Survey showed that resident socioeconomic vulnerability was considerably low, and no action needed to be taken to advocate for at-risk individuals. Overall, the City of Highland Village showed a high resiliency to disaster. A wildfire likely will not have a major impact on the community as a whole, though the city may reduce ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries