Coordinating non-established disaster relief groups: a case study of Hurricane Irma in Florida, United States.

Affiliation

Kapucu N(1), Hu Q(2), Harmon M(3), Toro P(3).
Author information:
(1)Pegasus Professor and Director of the School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida, United States.
(2)Associate Professor at the School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida, United States.
(3)Graduate Research Associate at the School of Public Administration, University of Central Florida, United States.

Abstract

This study examines the role of non-established relief groups (NERGs) and their involvement in the response to Hurricane Irma after it struck the state of Florida, United States, in September 2017. Its principal goal is to discover more about the engagement of NERGs in disaster response, as well as their motivations and their coordination with other emergency management agencies. The findings of a review of after-action reports and the outcomes of interviews with NERGs and other established organisations suggest that these groups often work with previously established networks. Many of the emergent type of NERGs have not worked with any established organisations prior to a disaster; frequently, therefore, they reach out to other emergent groups to acquire information and coordinate relief efforts. Given that emergent actors tend to lack a strict hierarchical structure for decision-making and coordination, there is a need to enhance communication between NERGs and established response bodies.