Why is American Disaster Recovery So Bad?

Like many people, I continue to look at the devastation in Puerto Rico, California, Houston and Miami with a mix of shock, horror, and resignation. Twelve years after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, it seems that we have barely made any progress on how to respond to disasters in a timely fashion.


An initial challenge that I think goes overlooked is that it is really hard to quantify disaster recovery. Sure, Puerto Rico’s government has put together a nice dashboard with their progress, but what exactly are we comparing it to? What’s the benchmark? 15% of households currently have power in Puerto Rico — is that good or bad? Maybe the federal government is doing a fantastic job bringing

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