These two things matter when bouncing back from natural disasters | 1/10/2018 | Staff
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On Sept. 19, 2017, an earthquake hit Mexico City that damaged and destroyed buildings across the city, killing more than 155 people.

After the earthquake, Miyamoto International, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, assisted with the recovery efforts and helped local engineers complete structural assessments. The team from Miyamoto, led by Elizabeth Petheo, MBA '14, who heads the company's Washington, D.C. office, specializes in urban disaster and risk reduction and resiliency programs globally.

Petheo - Development - Career - Aspects - Building

According to Petheo, who has worked in international development her entire career, there are two primary aspects of building disaster resiliency: It should be country-driven, and international actors can act as a catalyst for knowledge transfer.

"The national actors who are there, whether they are firefighters, first responders, or people working on disaster and emergency preparedness policy—they are the ones who drive the conversation," Petheo said.

People - Area - Community

This is because those are the people who know the area best, understand what capabilities their community already has, and what needs to be strengthened.

To prepare for a crisis, there are a number of questions that communities can ask themselves. "This is not an exhaustive list," Petheo said, "but there are a couple of different buckets: the logistical and operations side of things; overall administrative management of how things get executed; and the players themselves."

Logistics - Operations - Actors - Kind - Equipment

As far as logistics and operations goes, the local actors need to assess what kind of equipment they have. If a road is blocked, can they get through? If a building collapses, do they have the machines to clear the debris?

With management, they need to establish a control structure. Who will be able to activate policies that are in place? Who will be making the decisions? In terms of individual players, they need to know who else in their ecosystem will be...
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