During the week of September 11, 1988, Hurricane Gilbert struck the Caribbean and Mexico. Characterized as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, with sustained wind speeds of 175 mph, Gilbert caused enormous destruction. Two impacted communities will be the focal points of this study which will address community-wide policy issues related to the reconstruction process following the Hurricane Gilbert disaster. The study will attempt to improve the knowledge base that can be used by local, State, and Federal officials both before and following a disaster. With findings from this study, public officials should be better able to anticipate and respond to the range of policy issues they may face. This knowledge base can also be applied to various kinds of natural disasters in various geographic locations. So, for example, given the potential for catastrophic consequences of earthquakes in the United States, and thus the need for knowledge about reconstruction, research based on the Hurricane Gilbert recovery could fulfill a significant national need.