Featured Article: Lessons Learned from the May 2007 Greensburg Tornado
Disaster Response: Lessons Learned from the May 2007 Greensburg Tornado
by Bradley Jenkins
On May 4, 2007, severe weather ravaged the midwest United States, wreaking havoc throughout the state of Kansas. As night fell on Kiowa County, a tornadic supercell developed, creating the conditions for a catastrophic tornado to form near the small town of Greensburg. At 9:45 p.m., an EF-5 tornado struck Greensburg, leveling the rural town.
Many Americans watching reports from the Greensburg area were shocked to see the destruction, and a flood of aid from across the nation began pouring into Greensburg. Helping hands, financial assistance, and a myriad of products and services offered by individuals and private businesses alike provided much needed assistance to the devastated town. This aid, in cooperation with the efforts of various state and federal agencies, would become a key component in Greensburg’s response and recovery.
Through analyzing the coordinated response to this tragic event, this article will examine how well local, state, and federal agencies worked with each other and with volunteer and non-governmental organizations to respond to and prepare for the recovery of Greensburg. By analyzing the response to the Greensburg tornado, this article will draw parallels that can be used to strengthen interagency cooperation and serve as a vital learning tool for agencies during future disaster events. The lessons learned can provide critical insight to what can be done to strengthen communities’ resilience and build cooperation among the many agencies that play critical roles in disaster response and recovery…
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Bradley Jenkins is an Immigration Services Officer with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He holds a Master of Public Affairs degree from The Hauptmann School of Public Affairs at Park University where his studies focused on disaster and emergency management. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Public Policy with special emphasis in terrorism, mediation, and peace. The research for this article was completed during Jenkins’s internship with the Simons Center.