116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Linn County and the city of Cedar Rapids are hosting a panel and Q&A session Thursday on how to plan for and improve disaster recovery in the future.
The “community conversation,” coming two years after the August 2020 derecho, begins at 6 p.m. at CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE.
Panelists will include Tamara Marcus, Linn County sustainability director; Cedar Rapids Fire Chief Greg Smith; Ashley Balius, Linn County community outreach and assistance director’ J’Nae Peterman, Waypoint director of housing services; and Nafi Lamidi, RefugeeRISE AmeriCorps data and impact analyst.
The session follows the release of the Community Resilience Project’s final report from the Collective Clarity consulting firm, which aimed to capture “critical learning” from the derecho and improve the recovery process.
The project was conceived as a way for Linn County communities and organizations to “collaborate effectively during the recovery phase of a disaster.”
The report’s recommendations include creating a non-partisan position for planning and coordinating disaster recovery; sharing resources in planning for disaster recovery; and planning and strengthening connections and partnerships while enhancing communication.
The report also noted smaller communities had no experience handling a natural disaster the size of the derecho.
Cedar Rapids, because of its “size and visibility,” tended to attract more resources and attention even though “the scope of the need” was likely the same in the smaller communities.
“Small jurisdictions found that their bare-bones disaster plans were either too limited or too out of date to be useful,” the report stated. “They need living plans that stay fresh and relevant and tools that work in an all-hands-on-deck situation.”
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