News from the Bush School

Bush School professors discuss “What’s Next?” after Hurricane Harvey

September 29, 2017

Professors at the Bush School of Government and Public Service recently gathered to discuss the path to recovery after Hurricane Harvey left in its wake immense destruction earlier this month.

The well-attended event, “Hurricane Harvey: the Road to Recovery,” is part of a new series called “What’s Next?” at the Bush School. The September 14 event featured Dr. Danny Davis, Dr. Dave McIntyre, and Professor Sievert, who provided different insights into disaster response and recovery. The storm, which displaced more than 30,000 people and dropped forty inches of rain in certain areas, is one of the most damaging hurricanes on record.

“So now begins the road to recovery for Texas,” said moderator Dr. Justin Bullock.

The panelists discussed initial disaster response as well as the years-long road to recovery after a disaster like Hurricane Harvey hits. Dr. Davis walked the audience through the national response framework, explaining to the audience the mechanics of disaster response, while the other panelists spoke about the long-term efforts now required in Houston and the surrounding area. Dr. Davis also discussed how the United States government, the states, and the local governments work together to respond to a disaster, explaining that “all disasters are local.” This means that the local official is the person who makes the calls in such times and the federal and state governments must work with the local official.

The panelists recognized how smoothly the initial response went after Harvey hit but also acknowledged the road to full recovery is long and painful. When previous hurricanes have struck various communities, local officials have asked citizens to remain home and let the designated officials make rescue missions. With Harvey, ordinary citizens were welcomed to bring teams and boats to rescue those stranded. Because many communities were affected, all are vying for limited resources and assistance from different governmental and nongovernmental agencies.

This new series aims to answer the question “What’s next?” by addressing the major events and issues that grab our attention. This type of rapid-response series is designed to address events in real time, as they occur, with faculty from the Bush School discussing policy issues and options that are available to decision-makers. 

A full video of the event can be found at: