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Emergency Response and Recovery (Thrust Area 3)

Kathleen Tierney head shot

Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center

and Department of Sociology

University of Colorado at Boulder

Boulder, CO


Research Team

Post-event response and recovery strategies enhance resilience primarily through improving the rapidity with which impacts are identified, resources are mobilized, and critical systems are restored when an extreme event occurs, as well as through improving the effectiveness of community recovery strategies that are used following a disaster.

Response and recovery activities enable social units to return rapidly to levels of pre-disaster functionality primarily by enhancing the resourcefulness dimension of resilience—that is, the capacity to effectively mobilize appropriate human and material resources to manage the physical, economic, and social dislocation that disasters produce—and also through exploiting and, where necessary, creating system redundancies.

Sound response and recovery strategies enable social units that have experienced losses and disruption to return as quickly as possible to pre-disaster levels of functioning. Such strategies improve resilience by shortening the time between disaster impact and physical, social, and economic recovery, while at the same time ensuring that decisions made during the response and recovery period are based on the best available data and information.

While response and recovery activities must be undertaken as rapidly as possible when a major disaster strikes, it is equally important that the activities undertaken are appropriate—that is, that they employ resources effectively and in ways that contain losses and facilitate optimal recovery. Thus Thrust Area 3 research activities center on two inter-related objectives that are of critical importance to society:

  1. Improving the speed with which response, restoration, and recovery activities are undertaken and
  2. Improving the quality of the decisions that are made in the immediate and longer-term post-impact period 

Such measures will ultimately be judged in terms of the contribution they make to reducing both short- and longer-term losses and costs associated with extreme events.

Project Descriptions



Workshops, Meetings and Events

See also:

Remote Sensing Research

MCEER Reconnaissance

Research Highlight

IMS Applications Aid in Recovery Efforts

WTC network image

IMS application interface for the 2005 Indian Ocean Tsunami

MCEER investigator Arthur Lembo, Cornell University, is using advanced architectures to develop Internet Map Server (IMS) applications both rapidly and inexpensively, to aid in recovery efforts following disasters. As part of this effort, he developed Internet Map Server (IMS) applications after the 2005 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.

Read the Bulletin Article

IMS Sites

Indian Ocean Tsunami
(Sri Lanka)
This site won an award from Directions magazine and was picked up by government agencies as an excellent resource

Hurricane Katrina (Cornell site) This IMS information was also included in MCEER's Katrina Reconnaissance