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Because the devastation experienced in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita was far more extensive than any previous disasters, the impact of these storms renewed the public's attention on the need to plan and prepare for emergencies. Disaster response theories are generally built on one of two models: a top-down command and control system, and a networked, coordinated system. Each system has its own particular strengths and limitations, leading to considerable debate about the appropriateness and applicability of each model. The literature on disaster preparedness generally rests on one of these two premises and often highlights the need for cooperation and collaboration among lead agencies and local service providers.

Studies in this section focus on the roles and functions that nonprofits played during the recent hurricanes. Many of these articles examine the capacity and networks of nonprofits, the challenges of recruiting and managing volunteers, and the need for coordination among all levels and types of responding organizations, such as government, nonprofits, and the private sector. The studies are divided into four sections: (1) general lessons on preparedness, (2) Katrina-related studies, (3) lessons from other disasters, and (4) practical guides on how to prepare for a disaster or measure outcomes after the emergency.

Guides for Practitioners and Donors
Katrina-Related Studies
Other Disasters
General Lessons on Preparedness