Is Hazard Mitigation Being Incorporated into Post-Katrina Plans in Mississippi?

November 2007 (VOL. 25, NO. 3)

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Hurricane Katrina caused the worst hurricane damage ever seen on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Immediately following the hurricane, the Mississippi Governor’s Commission for Recovery, Rebuilding, and Renewal provided teams of planners and designers to work with communities along the coast to prepare rebuilding plans. The initial plans have been followed up with further long-range planning. This paper examines the degree to which hazard mitigation has been incorporated into the long-range plans developed in the communities along the coast in Harrison County, Mississippi, 18 months after Katrina. It finds that hazard mitigation has been significantly integrated into some community plans, whereas in other cases it has been ignored. Although the literature suggests that immediate experience with a natural disaster should increase citizen and local government response to disaster mitigation, this study found that the degree of storm surge inundation did not have a significant impact on whether communities integrated hazard mitigation measures into their plans. The paper concludes by offering recommendations on how these communities can improve their plans relative to hazard mitigation measures as they move into their next phase of long-range planning.