The Aftermath of Natural Disasters

Nov. 4, 2005

Since the onset of recovery efforts for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and with the potential of other natural disasters still looming in select areas of the United States, the industry has admirably stepped up to offer its support and direction to the devastated communities. Donations of time, resources, and money are paramount in getting businesses up and running - perhaps one of the most profound ways to reach a first step toward greater normalcy. Cities and towns all across this great nation have welcomed and embraced those displaced - either for the short or longer term. Facilities professionals are re-evaluating their own disaster preparedness, evacuation, and contingency plans to ensure such future destruction can be minimized.

Even though these tragedies have become less media-intensive, the opportunities to help are no less real or intense. This will be a recovery period of great length and many challenges. Do your part - personally, at work, or within the industry’s trade organizations - to keep the momentum alive and strong.

One organization that continues its aid efforts is Washington, D.C.-based BOMA Intl. This trade organization of building owners and managers assembled (and continues to actively support) a Hurricane Katrina Resource Center. In addition to collecting contributions - 100 percent of which are being used to aid the organization’s real estate partners in affected areas -

the Resource Center’s clearinghouse database assists in sharing information about available housing, jobs, rebuilding resources, and office space. Access the Hurricane Katrina Resource Center from BOMA Intl.’s website (

At press time, other plans were under way for the launch of the first Hurricane Katrina Recovery Summit (on Oct. 26, 2005, in Washington, D.C.). The all-day event - organized by New-Fields/USA
(, a Washington, D.C.-based firm specializing in post-war and post-disaster recovery conferences, and SafetyIssues, a Boston-based safety information technology and multimedia production company - was open to all public and private stakeholders in the recovery process at the national, state, or community level. The purpose of the summit: to bring greater transparency to recovery-related spending, to provide an exchange network among the summit participants, and to improve the quality of communication, coordination, and collaboration needed for a speedy, large-scale clean-up and restoration program. The organizers have also committed to a series of Recovery Summits in the states most affected by the disasters of this past hurricane season. If you didn’t attend the late-October summit, consider a similar event over the next few months.

Your time and expertise are needed today and in the future. Please don’t delay!

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