THE ALASKAN EARTHQUAKE: A CASE STUDY IN THE ECONOMICS OF DISASTER
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL STUDIES DIV
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The economic problems of recovery in Alaska following the severe Good Friday earthquake of March 27, 1964 are investigated. The immediate recuperation period is characterized by a great deal of uncertainty as to the status of the disaster region. The problems which this created in terms of obtaining and communicating accurate information and its effect on emergency needs such as food and housing are studied. The long-term economic recovery process is also examined. Using the concept of the capitallabor ratio the type of destruction to physical and human resources as well as the speed of recovery through outside aid capital and migration behavior labor are analyzed. Finally, the role of the Federal government in the private sector via the SBA is discussed, and a policy recommendation is made for developing a system of private disaster insurance supplemented by Federal funds to repair damage to public facilities. Recovery under this program should be more equitable and efficient than it is today. Wherever possible the study of the Alaskan experience is supplemented with observations from other disaster studies. Although many of the actions taken in the area were rather special, they do not appear to differ in kind from the response following other disasters. A study of the Alaskan quake and other natural calamities may provide some clues as to the expected problems in recovering from a limited nuclear war.
- Economics and Cost Analysis