Disaster Management Manual
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Priority 4 of the Sendai Framework states that: “The steady growth of disaster risk, including the increase of people and assets exposure, combined with the lessons learned from past disasters, indicates the need to further strengthen disaster preparedness for response, take action in anticipation of events, integrate disaster risk reduction in response preparedness and ensure that capacities are in place for effective response and recovery at all levels. Empowering women and persons with disabilities to publicly lead and promote gender equitable and universally accessible response, recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction approaches is key. Disasters have demonstrated that the recovery, rehabilitation, and reconstruction phase, which needs to be prepared ahead of a disaster, is a critical opportunity to “Build Back Better”, including through integrating disaster risk reduction into development measures, making nations and communities resilient to disasters.” 1

Lessons learned from past disasters are a key feature of building back better. In the United States, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) will reimburse States through it’s Emergency Relief (ER) program for Betterments.

“Betterments are added protective features, such as rebuilding of roadways at a higher elevation or lengthening of bridges, or changes which modify the function or character of a highway facility, from what existed prior to the disaster or catastrophic failure, such as additional lanes or added access control. Betterments must be clearly economically justified to receive ER funding and almost always have a higher initial cost, so the justification must be based on sufficiently reducing future ER eligible damage.” 2 Economical justification depends on the reduction of future damage.

“The following items would likely increase the resiliency of a repair and thus may be eligible for ER funding; provided they are economically justified:

  • Raising roadway grades
  • Relocating roadways to higher ground or away from slide prone areas
  • Stabilizing slide areas
  • Stabilizing slopes
  • Installing riprap
  • Lengthening of raising bridges to increase waterway openings
  • Deepening channels
  • Increasing the size or number of drainage structures
  • Replacing culverts or low water crossings with bridges
  • Installing seismic retrofits on bridges
  • Adding scour protection at bridges
  • Adding spur dikes
Reference sources

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