Project Management

I Give Up: What the Heck Is a Disaster Planner? Part 2 of 3

Bob Weinstein is a journalist who covers technology, project management, the workplace and career development.

When the disaster is officially over and the community is out of danger, and you’re no longer news, the hard work begins.
Disaster planning doesn’t stop once the shelters are emptied and the National Guard and emergency teams leave the area. This is when pressing new problems surface: Homes and businesses must be rebuilt, the local infrastructure strengthened. Electric lines have to be repaired before power can be restored -- phone and cable lines may need extensive repair as well.
By now, there are serious money issues. Revenue is needed to pay for the disaster. You’ll find yourself waiting on money from the private and public sectors. Grants are being written. Meanwhile, you’re sinking in bureaucratic quicksand and things are not happening fast enough. Building projects are stalled until the work is paid for. “At some point, Katrina survivors will run into this problem, if they haven’t already.”
When the disaster site is declared safe, volunteers are harder to find, pointing up the importance of continually building strong relationships, especially with volunteer groups like the Red Cross, government officials and the media. “Count on working closely with decision-makers at local utility, phone and cable companies,” says Olsen. “A good relationship with the media, especially, can work in your favor. Reporters, print and broadcast, can keep the story alive by …

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- Woody Allen