Bame leading three-year study of
needs caused by 2005 hurricanes


Texas A&M Urban planning professor Sherry Bame is directing a $750,000 study to use the Texas 211 system to identify needs that went unmet during hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

In the first year of the project, 13 students have worked to code about 50,000 hand-written call records and 800,000 electronic records taken by staff at the 211 area information centers in the fall of 2005.

Researchers will then spend next year analyzing the types of unmet needs over time and location.

The third year of the project will be spent implementing a standard data collection protocol for disasters. The protocol will enable 211 programs to provide community leaders and researchers with a “gold mine” of information to improve disaster preparedness, management and recovery.

Researchers have identified needs for food, housing, clothing and transportation. Callers have also needed financial, health and legal advice.

Calls requesting help for both disaster victims and host communities are included — as well as baseline data to compare to types and volume of unmet needs throughout the phases of disaster.

The findings will portray patterns in time and by locale of unmet need types.

The 211 system is a nationwide program similar to 911 that provides information and referral for non-emergency needs.

The students working on the project are undergraduates Robyn Bell, Dayna Finley, Alexandria Norman and Ashley Shaw; graduate students Tasha Davis, Aatmaja Desai, Andrew Garza, Erin Harrison and Courtney Payne; and doctorate students Rhonda Dunn, Aha Grover, Tiffany Kleb and Jee Young Lee.

Dr. Doug Wunneburger, a research professor of urban planning, and Kay Parker, vice president of the United Way, are also participating.


- Posted: June 17, 2009-

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