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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
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Awotona Resurrected in Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters

Founded by its Director Adenrele Awotona, the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters (CRSCAD) was established July 6, 2008 in response to a growing need for awareness in post-disaster reconstruction.

“With disasters growing in numbers and increasing in intensity, and [due to] the lack of academic centers that revolved around preparing and responding to disasters, [the] CRSCAD came into existence,” Awotona said.

Disasters are increasing in scope and impact both nationally and globally. In the past, Awotona said disasters were presumed to be rather rare cases and were typically dealt with by local responders such as police and fire departments without any systematic preparation.

Modern day natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 or underwater earthquakes that inflicted devastating tsunamis in Southeast Asia in 2004 may overwhelm localized response, said Awotona.

In the aftermath of such disasters, Awotona said factors such as public health, poverty, depletion of energy, and poor management of finance have contributed to the challenge of rebuilding communities. Major disasters call for major responses from regional, national, and international sources, and if these responses were to coordinate their efforts together, he said, society would be able to respond more capably to these ever more frequent disasters.

The director of the center went on to say that disasters are diverse; citing the prolonged state of disaster in Iraq as a consequence of the U.S. led invasion, and a lack of regulation within the financial system as a worldwide economic catastrophe.

According to Awotona, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) asked the CRSCAD to supply on campus training to a range of students who wish to provide special emergency response. Awotona said that FEMA believes that through a critical mass of younger student activists, a community sense of participation and responsibility will foster and stand ready in the moment of a severe disaster.

While being well integrated with the operations and unfolding plans of FEMA, CRSCAD will also be prepared to approach prospective disasters with multi-tiered systematic methods involving local and state responders along with FEMA and other national sources.

An international conference on “Rebuilding Sustainable Communities for children and their families after Disasters” will be held on campus on November 16-19, 2008. This academic conference will bring together various specialists to explore ways to reconstruct sustainable communities that will focus on the safety of children and their families after disasters.

CRSCAD is affiliated with the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies and has several research and institutional affiliates.

For more information on the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities After Disasters, visit on the web at: http://www.rebuilding.umb.edu/