Project management process for disaster recovery projects



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A project is an organized endeavor aimed at accomplishing a specific nonroutine or low-volume task (Shtub, Barb, & Globerson, 2005). Natural hazards particularly hurricanes and flooding do not exactly match this definition, but the recovery from them does. Recovery is not only about restoration of structures, systems and services – although they are critical. A successful recovery is also about the individuals and families being able to rebound from their losses, and sustain their physical, social and economic well-being (Department of Homeland Security, 2010). To be able to do this requires a comprehensive disaster recovery plan comprised of consistent action to be taken before, during and after a disaster. Flooding and wind related damages from hurricanes and tropical storms create the most widespread natural hazard disasters resulting in billions of dollars in property losses each year. Southeast Texas is vulnerable to flooding because of its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its flat terrain. 2004, 2005, and especially the 2008 hurricane season have highlighted the need for additional guidance, structure and support specifically oriented to long-term disaster recovery. The 2008 hurricane season was particularly active for Texas with a tropical storm and three named hurricanes. Hurricane Ike was the largest to hit the Texas coast in history and the third most destructive in the nation’s history. An estimated total damage of $29 billion for the 2008 hurricane season devastated Texas (Office of the Governor of the State of Texas, 2008). Luckily, the recovery efforts for Hurricane Ike have been marked by positive outcomes when compared to previous responses to events, but more work could have been done in the pre-disaster planning of an event. This thesis will outline a process that will look at ways to mitigate the hazard by planning long-term to lessen the recovery time and lead to a more sustainable community by hardening infrastructure and strengthening residential building codes in anticipation of future disasters.