The Texas A&M University Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, in partnership with the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program (SCIPP, a CPO Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) team) and Texas Sea Grant, published a new report highlighting a case study of Hurricane Harvey’s impacts on small- and medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations in Port Arthur and Beaumont, Texas. The report could help inform the work of disaster professionals so they can better support business owners and nonprofit leaders in preparing for extreme events in communities around the country. It is part of the Small and Medium Business Resilience and Disruption Portfolio—a collaborative effort between the RISA program and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
To study Hurricane Harvey’s business impacts, the research team used face-to-face and telephone surveys to gather disruption and recovery information from business owners or managers, and interviews and surveys with nonprofit leaders. The survey assessed the perceptions and behavior of the respondents throughout the recovery process, operational interruptions, disaster recovery progress, financial stability, mitigation behaviors, preparedness behaviors and overall risk-perceptions toward hazards.
The report shows that the most common pre-Harvey mitigation activities were backing up important documents (63%), maintaining off-site back-ups (57%); and developing an emergency response plan (51%). Following Harvey, more organizations completed mitigation activities, which will hopefully improve their resilience to future disasters.
Though many organizations reported not having response, continuity, and recovery plans, 90% of organizations that did felt that these plans accelerated their recovery operations. Overall, about 20% of respondents were unsure if they were required to have flood insurance. Together, this gap in flood insurance knowledge and limited but useful planning processes provide an imperative for future engagement and educational activities.
For more information, contact Dr. Michelle Meyer, Director of the Texas A&M Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center, at firstname.lastname@example.org.