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Recovery Management: State and Tribal Government

Recovery Management: State and Tribal Government

As noted in the NRF, the roles and responsibilities of States, U.S. territories, and tribal governments are extremely similar  , thus the term “State” will be used here to encompass those entities, and any exceptions will be indicated. In addition to supporting the local governments in whatever way possible, below are general recommendations for State governmental officials.

States may receive a variety of requests from local communities for recovery assistance. In addition to monitoring the local situation throughout the response and recovery process, you may be asked to provide support to the process directly. If the incident is so large that it cannot be managed with State resources alone, the Governor may request a Presidential declaration.

Coordinate State Resources

As a State agency, you should have the ability to readily identify, coordinate, and provide State-owned resources to address recovery of the transportation network, as well as to provide strategic guidance on recovery programs and processes. The goal is to supplement the local recovery efforts as needed, whether that is through coordinating State resources, or requesting support from other States or the Federal government.

Arrange Mutual Aid Agreements

Your State is also able to arrange mutual aid agreements, such as EMAC  , with other States, tribes, and territories to facilitate recovery assistance.

Assess State Regulations

In certain emergency circumstances, a State may be able to create, ease, or suspend some State regulations if it is essential to quickly recover transportation systems or critical infrastructure  . This course of action should be coordinated following the appropriate established mechanisms in your State.

Understand Consequence Management

On the State level, you may also be involved in consequence management during the recovery process. This may entail:

• Managing expectations by communicating regularly with the public and media on recovery status;

• Assessing impacts on the community and State; and

• Devising strategies for individuals and industries to manage and recover from the impact of a transportation network disruption and the subsequent effects of the recovery process.


“In the cleanup, fix-up period early in the aftermath, expectations about a return to normalcy are typically bolstered by cooperation and mutual assistance. Neighbors help neighbors. We often heard, ‘We’ve never seen anything like it. This disaster brought everyone together.’ This sense of community is further enhanced by a swell of volunteers who come to the community to give comfort and to help with clearing debris and rebuilding. But except in New Orleans, where volunteers continued to arrive three years after the flood, volunteers usually begin to drift away after a few weeks or months, and residents may feel left largely to themselves.

“Later in the aftermath, individuals start to define, usually quite subconsciously, a ‘new normal’ to replace what they had defined as normal before the event. At the same time, individuals, organizations, and groups find that their concerns and agendas are not shared universally in the community. Other people have other interests, which sometimes conflict. Pre-event agendas for the city council and nongovernmental civic groups go by the board as the meetings are dominated by post-disaster problems and concerns. Traditional processes may be short-circuited. People who were rarely or never involved in political exchange join the fray in order to get their issue addressed.

“Early in the aftermath, community and local government expectations about State and Federal assistance are sometimes unrealistic. Funds are typically project based and designated for specific uses. Most of the grants are for brick-and-mortar projects. The Federal government does not provide grants to cover local government operating expenses; it provides loans for that purpose. Moreover, Federal programs are not particularly flexible; one size is usually expected to fit all, and every dollar spent must be accounted for.”

Source: Managing for Long-Term Community Recovery in the Aftermath of a Disaster, by Daniel J. Alesch, Lucy A. Arendt, and James N. Holly (Public Entity Risk Institute, 2009), p. 80-81.