Media Advisory

Posted: Friday, 28 August 2015

TROY professor available to speak to lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina response

A Troy University professor believes that while some positive lessons were learned in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, some troubling issues remain that could negatively impact the recovery process in future disasters.

Dr. Daniel Sutter, the Charles G. Koch Professor of Economics with the Manuel H. Johnson Center for Political Economy at Troy University, has done extensive research in the area of the societal and economic impacts of extreme weather and natural disasters. In addition to numerous papers and presentations on hurricane impacts and recovery, Dr. Sutter has co-authored two books published by the American Meteorological Society Press - "Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes" and "Deadly Season: Analyzing the 2011 Tornado Outbreaks."

Some of his observations on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina include:

  • Government's bureaucratic rules for responding to disasters didn't work very well given the unique and fast-changing situation presented by Hurricane Katrina.
  • Some aspects of federal response have shown improvement since Katrina, thanks to the 2006 Federal Emergency Management Agency Reform bill passed by Congress. One of the positives was that reform mandated that FEMA liaison with voluntary agencies that are active in disaster response.
  • The emergence of peer-to-peer assistance has played a much larger role in disaster response since Hurricane Katrina. While the concept of neighbors helping neighbors has always been present, advances in technology such as the growth and expansion of social media have served to extend that reach.
  • The recovery process from Katrina was slowed because it became extremely politicized, and unfortunately, the trend toward more planning of the recovery process has continued to grow unchecked, which may lead to greater problems with future disasters.

To view a video of Dr. Sutter speaking about the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, visit YouTube.

To schedule an interview with Dr. Sutter, contact the University Relations Office at 334-670-3196, or contact Clif Lusk ( or Andy Ellis ( via email.