This study will document the prevalence, type and quality of recovery plans in coastal counties throughout the southeastern U.S. and examine the effectiveness of recovery plans in reducing vulnerability to disasters. Disasters disrupt communities and people's lives. Socially vulnerable groups, including women, racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, poor and persons living with disabilities may suffer disproportionately from disasters. This may be in part because these groups do not participate in the disaster planning process or because their unique needs are not typically addressed in disaster plans.
An inclusive planning process that includes public participation and engagement of socially vulnerable groups will lead to higher quality recovery plans. Higher quality plans will, in turn, lead to more disaster resilient communities. A resilient community faces future disasters with reduced vulnerability, fewer inequities and a more sustainable future. Research findings will also be translated into practice though partnership with a demonstration community.