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Return-Entry Risk Communication Following 2012 Hurricane Sandy

Description: Within risk communication, much is understood about pre-event warning related to evacuation and sheltering; however risk communication during the return-entry phase when ending evacuations has been largely under-studied in the disaster literature. Understanding of the return-entry risk communication process is important because returning early or prior to issuance of the all-clear message can make returnees susceptible to post-disaster risks, and also hamper post-disaster activities such as debris removal, traffic management, utility restoration and damage assessments. Guided by the Warning Components Framework and the Theory of Motivated Information Management, this dissertation focuses on risk communication as it pertains to organizational behavior during the return-entry process by examining how local emergency management organizations develop, disseminate and monitor return-entry messages. The data is collected through semi-structured telephone interviews with local emergency management organizations that managed return-entry following Hurricane Sandy. The findings of the study indicate that local emergency management organizations required information on post-disaster threats, damages, and utility and infrastructure condition in order to develop return-entry strategy for their community. Organizations improvised to their existing risk communication measures by adopting creative ways for information dissemination to the evacuees. They also utilized active and passive approach to monitor public response to the return-entry messages.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Manandhar, Rejina
Partner: UNT Libraries

Hurricane Sandy Relief: Improved Guidance on Designing Internal Control Plans Could Enhance Oversight of Disaster Funding

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In response to the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013, agencies prepared Hurricane Sandy disaster relief internal control plans based on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance but did not consistently apply the guidance in preparing these plans. OMB Memorandum M-13-07 (M-13-07), Accountability for Funds Provided by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, directed federal agencies to provide a description of incremental risks they identified for Sandy disaster relief funding as well as an internal control strategy for mitigating these risks. Each of the 19 agencies responsible for the 61 programs receiving funds under the act submitted an internal control plan with specific program details using a template provided by OMB. Agencies' plans ranged from providing most of the required information to not providing any information on certain programs. For example, each of the 61 programs was required to discuss its protocol for improper payments; however, GAO found that 38 programs included this information, 11 included partial information, and 12 included no information."
Date: November 26, 2013
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Rebuilding for Sustainability: Case Studies in the Making (Presentation)

Description: NREL has made significant contributions to communities suffering from natural disasters since 2007 in terms of technical assistance regarding energy efficiency and renewable energy options. NREL's work has covered all aspects of energy, including energy opportunities in community planning, policy design, new program design, and specific project design and implementation for energy related to electricity generation, building energy use, and transportation. This presentation highlights work done in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; Greensburg, Kansas, following a devastating tornado; and New York and New Jersey following Hurricane Sandy.
Date: June 1, 2013
Creator: Billman, L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Extracting Useful Information from Social Media during Disaster Events

Description: In recent years, social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have emerged as effective tools for broadcasting messages worldwide during disaster events. With millions of messages posted through these services during such events, it has become imperative to identify valuable information that can help the emergency responders to develop effective relief efforts and aid victims. Many studies implied that the role of social media during disasters is invaluable and can be incorporated into emergency decision-making process. However, due to the "big data" nature of social media, it is very labor-intensive to employ human resources to sift through social media posts and categorize/classify them as useful information. Hence, there is a growing need for machine intelligence to automate the process of extracting useful information from the social media data during disaster events. This dissertation addresses the following questions: In a social media stream of messages, what is the useful information to be extracted that can help emergency response organizations to become more situationally aware during and following a disaster? What are the features (or patterns) that can contribute to automatically identifying messages that are useful during disasters? We explored a wide variety of features in conjunction with supervised learning algorithms to automatically identify messages that are useful during disaster events. The feature design includes sentiment features to extract the geo-mapped sentiment expressed in tweets, as well as tweet-content and user detail features to predict the likelihood of the information contained in a tweet to be quickly spread in the network. Further experimentation is carried out to see how these features help in identifying the informative tweets and filter out those tweets that are conversational in nature.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Neppalli, Venkata Kishore
Partner: UNT Libraries

Recovery.gov: the official U.S. Government website for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board

Description: This is the website for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, a non-partisan, non-political agency established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) with the goals of providing transparency of ARRA-related funds, and detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and mismanagement of those funds. Under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012, the Board's authority was expanded to include oversight of all federal funding and, under the Disaster Appropriations Act of 2013, the Board was mandated by Congress to use its resources to provide oversight of Hurricane Sandy funding. The website contains information about the board's activities, as well as data related to the $840 billion stimulus bill and information about the distribution and spending of Hurricane Sandy funds.
Date: 2015
Creator: United States. Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board
Partner: UNT Libraries Digital Projects Unit