Institute for Water Resources

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Value to the Nation

Emergencies: Response and Recovery

In 2010, the Corps responded to 20 major disasters, including the Haitian earthquake, Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Hurricane Earl, and numerous flooding events around the country. The Corps manages a Deployable Tactical Operations System that features rapid response vehicles designed to deploy within 18 hours as mobile field offices. When disaster strikes, Corps personnel stand ready to respond, moving rapidly into the affected area to provide a wide range of vital services including:

  • restoring critical public services or facilities
  • participating in search and rescue operations
  • clearing debris to reopen transportation routes, drainage channels, water supply intakes, sewer outfalls, etc.
  • supplying drinkable water and emergency power
  • repairing or rebuilding flood control and shore protection structures, such as levees
  • creating temporary housing
  • providing technical assistance, including structural evaluations of buildings and damage assessments.

The Corps is typically activated in an emergency under the National Response Framework, which is led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Corps expert personnel are trained to deal with a variety of different types of disasters including hurricanes, floods, tornados, earthquakes, drought, snowstorms, terrorist attacks, and industrial accidents. Once a disaster is over, communities and individuals face the difficult task of picking up the pieces and moving forward.