Disaster Plans: Challenges and Choices to Build the Resiliency of Vulnerable Populations

November 2010 (VOL. 28, NO. 3)

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This paper explains how local government disaster plans can foster disaster resiliency of socially vulnerable population groups in ways that are not fully addressed by the predominant disaster planning literature. The benefits of disaster planning aimed at building the capacity of socially vulnerable populations are discussed. We present two critical choices that must be considered in creating high quality disaster plans: choices among plan design options; and choices to support plan quality principles that provide guidance to account for socially vulnerable populations. Application of the design options and principles is illustrated based on a content analysis of three local disaster plans. The conceptual and practical implications of the options and principles are reviewed.