Public Buildings in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

from RAND Research Topic: Health and Health Care at on September 30, 2020 at 02:44PM

The government of Puerto Rico submitted an economic and disaster recovery plan to Congress on August 8, 2018, describing a strategic approach to recover from the destruction caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, build resilience to withstand future disasters, and restore the struggling economy. The Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center (HSOAC, a federally funded research and development center operated by the RAND Corporation under contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) provided substantial input for the plan by engaging with numerous stakeholders, conducting analyses, assessing damage and needs, deducing courses of action and costs, and identifying possible funding mechanisms. Acting in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) public building sector and the government of Puerto Rico, the HSOAC team compiled data from multiple sources on public building damage, analyzed the data, and identified gaps in the data for some public buildings. Additional analyses assessed recent changes in population and employment that might affect building use and needs. These analyses, coupled with discussions with FEMA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and government of Puerto Rico agencies, informed the development of 12 courses of action represented in the recovery plan for the public building sector. These courses of action embody the public building sector vision of reinvesting in public building infrastructure not only to repair the damage caused by the 2017 hurricanes but also to modernize this infrastructure to increase resilience to natural hazards, improve energy efficiency, and improve functionality and user experience.

This research was sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and conducted by the Strategy, Policy and Operations Program within Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center.

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