Natural Disasters - Moving Toward Improved Resilience

Full Session with Abstracts

340312-5 - A Multi-disciplinary Field Study of the City of Lumberton after the 2016 Hurricane Matthew

Saturday, April 21
10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Location: 201A

In order to understand community resilience in the aftermath of disaster, it is critical that researchers gather post-event field data, as well as data over time. This allows for the study of recovery as it occurs and contextualizes decisions made by the community. To understand what makes a community "resilient" or what facilitates "bouncing back" from a disaster, researchers must track recovery over time; i.e. a longitudinal study. With this in mind, The Center of Excellence (CoE) for Risk-Based Community Resilience Planning research team selected the City of Lumberton, NC, to conduct a quick response multidisciplinary resilience field study from November 27-December 4, 2016 following Hurricane Matthew (2016). The flooding directly caused by this storm resulted in more than 40 casualties and billions of dollars in economic loss along the eastern United States. The purpose of this field study was to explore the overall impact of the major flooding that took place due to heavy rainfall before, during, and after the storm; the data collected will inform initial conditions for a future longitudinal field study. Our multi-disciplinary research team focused on the interconnectivity across physical and human infrastructure systems, with a focus on: damage to residential and school buildings, utlity lifelines, school closures, student and school personnel displacement, and housing dislocation. Future field studies are also being planned to understand the long term recovery of the Lumberton community. This presentation will present a general overview of the methodology followed in the study and impacts of flooding on the community, as well as the goals of the Lumberton field investigation, which were twofold. First, the investigators involved set out to learn as much as possible about impacts to and the post-disaster recovery of physical, social, and economic systems in the aftermath of the event. Second, the lessons learned will be quantified to ultimately enable researchers and community leaders to study and optimize investments in community resilience. An important contribution of this field study is the development of field research strategies for undertaking systematic interdisciplinary engineering and social science data collection in the aftermath of a disaster.

Judith Mitrani-Reiser

Director, Disaster & Failure Studies Program
National Institute of Standards and Technology

Dr. Mitriani-Reiser leads the NIST multidisciplinary staff responsible for conducting fact-finding investigations of structural failures that resulted in substantial loss of life or that posed significant potential for substantial loss of life; promoting the implementation of recommendations from those studies to improve codes, standards and practices.


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340312-5 - A Multi-disciplinary Field Study of the City of Lumberton after the 2016 Hurricane Matthew

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