Intergovernmental Relations in Disaster Relief




Burke, James Carroll

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The occurrence of a disaster in an urban area disrupts the flow of municipal services and creates severe hardships for the residents. Unlike the resident of the rural area, the city-dweller is highly interdependent with the other members of his community. Without their cooperation, he cannot expect to fulfill even his most basic needs. He relies on his government to supply him with water, sanitation, law enforcement, and other municipal services. When these services are interrupted, urban life comes to a standstill. In major disasters local governments must often seek outside assistance in order to restore the flow of municipal services. This study deals with the intergovernmental relations occasioned by the impact of the Lubbock tornado of May 11, 1970, which brought federal, state, and local officials, as u/ell as private agencies, together to work out a disaster recovery program. This study will seek to determine the nature and extent of the intergovernmental relations which the City of Lubbock experienced as a result of the tornado of May11, 1970; the effectiveness of the city's Civil Defense and Disaster Preparedness program; how the city's council-manager form of government functioned under stress; whether current legislation is adequate for assisting urban areas in disaster recover; and finally, to determine u/hat steps can be taken to improve the response of all levels of government to urban disaster situations. It is hoped that this study u/ill both add to the general body of knowledge concerning intergovernmental relations and disaster relief and, at the same time, provide a useful guide for local officials in planning disaster recovery operations. This study would not have been possible without the generous assistance provided by the many officials of both governmental and private agencies who made both their files and their thoughts available to the writer.



Natural Disaster, Disaster Relief, Tornado