Neighbors Helping Neighbors: An Examination of the Social Capital Mobilization Process for Community Resilience to Environmental Disasters

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  • http://jax.sagepub.com/Journal of Applied Social Science

    http://jax.sagepub.com/content/6/2/209The online version of this article can be found at:

    DOI: 10.1177/1936724412458483

    2012 6: 209Journal of Applied Social ScienceMary B. LaLone

    Process for Community Resilience to Environmental DisastersNeighbors Helping Neighbors: An Examination of the Social Capital Mobilization

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  • Journal of Applied Social Science6(2) 209 237

    The Author(s) 2012Reprints and permission:

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    458483 JAX6210.1177/1936724412458483Journal of Applied Social ScienceLaLone2012

    1Radford University, Virginia, USA

    Corresponding Author:Mary B. LaLone, Department of Sociology and the Center for Social and Cultural Research, Radford University, Box 6948, East Main St., Radford, VA 24142, USAEmail: mlalone@radford.edu

    Neighbors Helping Neighbors: An Examination of the Social Capital Mobilization Process for Community Resilience to Environmental Disasters

    Mary B. LaLone1

    Abstract

    This article argues that planning for community resilience to environmental disasters needs to give greater consideration to the potentials for response and recovery contributions available through local-level, informal social capital networks, as well as from the more formal policy and planning channels. To demonstrate the potential for mobilizing social capital resources to aid disaster response and recovery, the article provides a microlevel examination of the social capital mobilization process that occurred after tornadoes unexpectedly struck a rural Appala-chian region in April 2011. It examines the mobilization process and types of labor and supply resources rapidly generated through community-level social networks in the first weeks of disaster response and recovery. The article situates this study in the context of social capital disaster literature, and considers its lessons and applications for disaster planning.

    Keywords

    environmental disasters, social capital, community-based research, community resilience, emergency disaster planning

    Local-level social capital resources and networks are a vital part of community resilience efforts for response and recovery to environmental disasters. Unfortunately, the potential roles and con-tributions of local-level social organizing are frequently overlooked, or devalued as insignificant, by planners and policymakers. This article argues for detailed study of community social capital mobilization processes, and especially for the application and incorporation of this research into environmental disaster planning programs. As an example of the power and potential of informal social capital mobilization for disaster relief, the article provides a microlevel examination of the rapid community-based process for mobilizing local resources that was pulled together day-by-day within the first weeks after tornadoes devastated sections of Pulaski County, Virginia, in April 2011. This study documents the process by which the region responded to rapidly mobilize a community-based effort for response and early recovery. I identify the methods, types of assis-tance, and social channels used for mobilizing social capital contributions, and also anticipate

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    limitations for longer term recovery, especially as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied federal assistance to Pulaski, leaving a rural region to handle recovery with dwindling state and social service funding sources.

    Community Resilience to Environmental Disasters and Social Capital ContributionsPublic and academic attention has been riveted on environmental disasters over the past decade as widespread media coverage of Hurricane Katrina, and other devastating disasters across the world, has heightened public awareness and concern about the need for good disaster planning systems. Nigg and Mileti (2002) and Tierney (2007) trace the development of disaster research in environmental sociology, and the new directions in research and practice that have occurred as applied sociological research has intersected with the field of emergency disaster planning. Over the past decade, social science attention has especially focused around the topic of community resilience to environmental disasters, defining and developing the concept, and developing a mushrooming literature that explores the multifaceted dimensions of community resilience. The literature base is becoming too large to cite fully in this article, but noteworthy examples are com-ing out of Australia (e.g., Buckle, Marsh, and Smale 2001; Gow and Paton 2008; Paton and Johnston 2006), as well as the United States. From the United States, good examples include the publications of the Community and Regional Resilience Institute (CARRI; for example, Gunderson 2009; Plodinec 2009), the Natural Hazards Center (e.g., Natural Hazards Center 2001), and the National Committee on Disaster Research in the Social Sciences (e.g., National Research Council 2006). And, of course, research and literature on the impacts of Hurricane Katrina on the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2005 has added extensively to the study of the human dimen-sions of environmental disasters (e.g., Bates and Swan 2007; Brunsma, Overfelt, and Picou 2010; Daniels, Kettl, and Kunreuther 2006; Weil 20052011; see also Erikson and Peek 2010).

    Mayunga (2007) and Plodinec (2009) review definitions of the term resilience in ecological literature, and then apply that concept specifically to the context of community resilience in disaster situations. Mayunga (2007) defines community disaster resilience as the capacity or ability of a community to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover quickly from impacts of disasters (p. 2). Similarly, Plodinec (2009) in a CARRI report, defines community resilience as the capability to anticipate risk, limit impact, and bounce back rapidly through survival, adaptability, evolution, and growth in the face of turbulent change (p. 7). Key aspects of resil-ience in both definitions are anticipation and preparation, as well as the ability to bounce back through response and recovery. My emphasis on anticipation and preparation for community environmental disasters will become clear when we move to the following sections of this arti-cle. Overall, the literature on community resilience to disasters is consistent in conceptualizing the issues and needs to be addressed as falling into three categories or stages: (a) vulnerability and disaster preparedness, to be addressed through predisaster planning and hazard mitigation efforts; (b) disaster response; and (c) disaster recovery (e.g., Gunderson 2009; Maguire and Cartwright 2008; Plodinec 2009; Tobin 1999). All three stages should be addressed in disaster planning whenever possible. Mitigation efforts are clearly advantageous when environmental hazards are known and advance action can be taken to mitigate their impacts, but unfortunately this is not always possible. In many real-life casessuch as in the region studiedenvironmental disasters may not be expected. In this situation, state emergency planning was in place for gen-eralized emergencies, but a tornado was not a weather event expected in the region. An interest-ing aspect of this study is that it allows us to view and analyze the formation of a social mobilization process that developed rapidly as a pure social reaction to an unexpected tornado

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    disaster, in large part as a grassroots-generated effort to help the region during the response and early recovery stages following the disaster.

    Recent literature on community resilience to disasters has increasingly incorporated a theme from the applied social sciences: that community disaster planning needs to take into account the potential for social capital contributions available through informal, local socio-economic networks, as well as the more formal policy and planning channels. Among the leading proponents of this perspective are Dynes (2002, 2005, 2006), followed by Murphy (2007; Murphy et al. 2005), Tierney (2006a), Mayunga (2007), and Ritchie and Gill (2011a, 2011b). In his seminal article on the inclusion of social capital in emergency management, Dynes (2006) emphasizes, While we calculate damage to physical and human capital, we usually ignore the social capital available within communities to deal with emergencies. Social capital is our most significant resource in responding to damage caused by natural and other hazards (p. 2). He points out that emergency disaster management has developed a com-mand-and-control approach, especially following the September 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks. This approach links government agencies in an explicitly formalized top-down authority structure for communicating, handling, and efficiently controlling decisions and actions in a disaster situation (Dynes 2006). While quite efficient in channeling formalized emergency resources (like police, fire, hospital, and other first responders) to deal with disas-ter response, Dynes and the others cited above note that the weakness of a command-and-control approach is its assumption that civil society either breaks down or has insignificant contributions to make in disaster response and recovery. The result is the tendency to overlook or exclude social capital contributions from being factored into planning roles for disaster response and recovery. Further discussion of the types of social capital organization that can contribute to disaster recovery, as discussed by Dynes, Murphy, and others, will be integrated into later sections of this article.

    Social capital is a concept that sociologists and other social scientists know well. Social capital refers to the resources of support that are embedded within social networks, and that are cemented and reinforced through relationships of trust and social norms emphasizing reci-procity and mutual assistance. These resources can become available and mobilized when needed by actors through the various social networks in which they participate, including fam-ily, neighborhood, workplace, and other social networks. (This description derives from review of all the sources cited in this paragraph and the one above.) Many scholars have reviewed the development and debates of social capital theory (e.g., Field 2008; Flora 1998; Halpern 2005; Keefe 2009; Lin, Cook, and Burt 2001; Ritchie and Gill 2007, to name just a few). The inten-tion in this article is not to duplicate that effort here but, instead, to focus on applying the concept in two ways: (a) to discuss social capital as tailored to emergency disaster manage-ment contexts and (b) to provide an example that demonstrates how, when disaster struck a rural Appalachian region, social capital was mobilized using a mixture of long-standing social norms and networks along with twenty-first century modes of technology that extended, and perhaps speeded up, the mobilization process. So, as used in this article, social capital refers to the potential resources in goods, labor, and other forms of assistance, that are embedded in local-level social networks of family and neighbors, and other groups formed through place-based, work-based, and common interest-based bonds of interaction, trust, reciprocity, and support, that people can mobilize individually and collectively to use for community resilience in the face of disasters.

    The study that follows provides a microlevel analysis of disaster response in a rural Appalachian region of the United States. Halperin (1990), Beaver (1986), Keefe (2009), and LaLone (1995, 1996, 1997, 2008b) provide ample ethnographic research documenting the importance of social networks and patterns of generalized reciprocity in Appalachian commu-nities during the twentieth century. In Appalachia, family-based, church-based, place-based,

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    and employment-based social structures come into play as mutual support structures in times of risk, uncertainty, and hardship. In Southwest Virginia (the location of the tornadoes to be discussed), where coal mining and farming historically were the predominant occupations, research on mining families documents the underlying patterns of family and community reci-procity that were set in place as strong socioeconomic survival strategies to cope with the fluctuations and risks of employment in the mines from the 1930s to 1970s. When disasters or hard times struck, families in communities supported and helped one another as a regularized norm of behavior in Appalachian mining culture. That norm, and the socioeconomic pattern of generalized reciprocity, the exchange of goods and services without requiring an immediate return of value, is referred to in Appalachian Virginia as helping each other out (LaLone 1995, 1996, 1997, 2008b). Miners like Louis Henegar explained how these social patterns would be called into play whenever needed to provide community aid in times of disasters and other hardships:

    If you were destitute to the point that maybe you didnt have food in the house or some-thing like that, then I would be there to see that you had it. And the rest of the neighbors would be there to see that you had it . . . If you were sick, then everyone would come and offer assistance. If your husband had gotten hurt [in a mining disaster] and no income and no food, the neighbors would see that you didnt go hungry . . . it was just a code. If you were in need, it was my job to help you. And vice-versa. (Henegar in LaLone 1995:94; LaLone 2008b:161)

    In effect, these were informal socially based community resilience strategies. The hardship situations around which the community rallied to give supportof being without food, supplies, and possibly without finances to retain a homeare similar to the hardships faced by environ-mental disaster victims (as in the study below). Similarly, research on farming families in Southwest Virginia demonstrates that strong socioeconomic patterns of reciprocity, and the pool-ing of resources within extended families and between neighbors, have been essential compo-nents of the local-level survival structure from the 1920s, continuing into the twenty-first century (LaLone 2008a; LaLone, Wimmer, and Spence 2003). Neighbors formed reciprocal support net-works to trade labor assistance, pool resources jointly between households, and spread out their costs for expensive capital equipment. Many farmers in the research study explained, as this gentleman did, that you helped all your neighbors and all your neighbors helped you (Grim in LaLone 2008a:70). Again, this reflects the strong regional social norm of neighbors helping neighbors.

    This knowledge, gained through ethnographic and community-based research, of the likely existence of local-level social capital networks and the channels for potential mobilization of resources has practical applied valueIt can be used to identify, anticipate, and utilize locally based volunteered resources for regional planning. Examination of planning and development projects in Appalachia shows that this foundation of social capital is available, strong, and will-ingly offered in local communities but that, unfortunately, it is often overlooked or treated as unimportant by regional planners (Keefe ed. 2009; LaLone 2009). However, the literature also shows the successes that have occurred when projects have taken a community-based participa-tory approach, where practitioners intentionally identify local social networks and integrate social capital resources into an inclusive partnership approach for community planning, rather than overlooking their potentials (Keefe ed. 2009; LaLone 2009). Identification and use of infor-mal community networks are equally important for developing and handling effective disaster response and recovery systems. As we will see demonstrated in the following Appalachian example, social capital can be mobilized rapidly and produce significant amounts of supply and labor resources of value to aid in environmental disaster response and early recovery efforts.

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    Examination of Social Capital Mobilization in a Rural Region

    Although attention naturally gravitates toward large-scale environmental catastrophes like Hurricane Katrina, we should not forget that environmental disasters of lesser magnitude occur across the world, often when and where least expected (see Quarantelli 2006 on the distinction between catastrophes and disasters). They test the viability of regional disaster preparedness planning and pose challenges for small communities to bounce back with resilience. This study focuses on one of these smaller scale environmental disasters, examining the social capital mobilization process that emerged, and the strengths and weaknesses in the rural emergency planning system.

    Tornadoes dont come to Southwest Virginiaor at least thats what everyone always said. So the people of rural Pulaski County, in the Appalachian Mountain region of Southwest Virginia, were taken by surprise when, after dark on a Friday night, April 8, 2011, their lives were turned upside down as two tornadoes touched down around 7:35 p.m. in the midst of a violent thunderstorm. One was an EF-2 tornado that hit the Town of Pulaski with 125 mph winds, was 440 yards in width, and had a path 9.95 miles long. It took roofs off buildings, destroyed houses, uprooted trees, caused 10 injuries, and was estimated to have affected 1,367 people. The other was an EF-1 tornado that hit the more rural Draper section of Pulaski County, following a path 480 yards wide and 2.6 miles long. It damaged a gas station and several homes, snapped power lines and downed trees, and affected 340 people. Three days later, when the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and FEMA teams had assessed the damage, they found that 267 houses were damaged with the following breakdown: 31 destroyed, 25 with major damage, 52 with minor damage, and 159 affected. Electrical power was out for 3 days, and curfew and boil water notices were in effect for 3 days also (Matzke-Fawcett and Myatt 2011a; VDEM 2011c).

    To set the context using the most recent census figures of 20092010, this is a rural county with a population of 34,872 (92.5 percent were identified ethnically in the census as white). The county seat, the Town of Pulaski, where one tornado hit, has a population of 8,937. A total of 52 percent of the countys population is considered rural by the U.S. census definition (i.e., liv-ing outside of urban towns of 1,000+ people per square mile). In 2010, the countys median household income was $40,239, compared with the state median household income of $59,372. According to the 2009 census figures, 14.2 percent of the population was living below poverty level, compared with the state level that was 10.6 percent below poverty level (County Health Rankings 2011; U.S. Census Bureau 2011a, 2011b). Shortly after the tornadoes struck, the Washington Post did a feature story on poverty in Pulaski County, pointing out that this is a region where many people have a hard time making ends meet, while the Pulaski Community Action poverty-assistance office, a private nonprofit charitable corporation, has less than ever to give to families due to cuts in federal funding (Saslow 2011). Of the homes damaged by the tornadoes, only 40 percent of the tornado victims held homeowners insurance (Ward 2011). Thus, the following study examines the power and potentials of social mobilization in a rural region that does not have a lot to spare but, as discussion will show, acted fast to pull together a significant amount of labor and supply resources for the tornado relief effort, drawing largely on the strong regional norm of neighbors helping neighbors.

    The purpose of the study was to document and evaluate the social capital mobilization pro-cess that occurred within the scope of a one-month period following the tornadoes of April 8. The documentary research methodology involved retrieval of written and online documentary sources, especially targeted on documenting the sequence of factual events and social capital mobilization activities that occurred in the weeks following the tornadoes, and qualitative analysis to sort the documentary database into a timeline of events, and data sets sorted by

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    type, speed, social groups, and forms of mobilization efforts that occurred in the month follow-ing the baseline tornado event. The VDEM maintained an updated web site and multiple news-paper and television news agencies maintained daily coverage and posted their stories on the Internet, while local organizations (government and business) and social networking sites used the Internet to post and blog about fund-raising information and news updates. In addition to near-daily reports on the VDEM web site, approximately 130 articles were retrieved, com-piled, and analyzed for the database.

    Postdisaster Days 1 to 2: Immediate Response and Emerging Social MobilizationThe night the tornadoes hit, and the following day, was primarily a time for the formal chan-nels of emergency first responders to quickly move into action. Local government put into place a rapid emergency response and had declared a state of emergency and opened a local emergency center at the elementary school within two hours. Power was out, but roads were relatively passable by 7:00 a.m. By early the next morning, the State Police had troopers on the scene to secure the area, the fire and police departments had initiated and completed pri-mary and secondary searches of the area, injured victims were treated at the local hospital, the Department of Forestry had two chain saw crews clearing debris, and the Department of Transportation had crews clearing roadways and debris (Matzke-Fawcett and Myatt 2011b; VDEM 2011c).

    At the same time, social capital connections and resources were beginning to be mobilized more informally, but rapidly. As soon as the emergency shelter was made available, volunteers from the Red Cross came to staff the shelter, and were quickly joined by volunteers from other charitable organizations like the Roanoke Volunteer Center and Mercy Chefs. Individuals and community groups right away supplied the emergency shelter with water, food, and cash dona-tions. Citizens from Pulaski and the wider region came to the shelter to offer help to distribute food, water, blankets, and meals. Within the first day, church-based volunteer contributions began to develop informally around a second location. Initially, the New Life Church of the Nazarene emerged as a centralized location, to which a large number of local churches added their collaborative efforts, bringing supplies and volunteers amassed through their own congre-gational networks. This all pulled together quickly, with church-based congregational groups expanding beyond the day-to-day religious structure to take on, temporarily, another layer of social disaster-relief support for the tornado victims. Within a day, these activities had over-flowed outward into an adjoining shopping center parking lot, until the shopping center had become a large resource center and staging area for supply drop-offs and distribution, and for the provision of meals for victims and volunteers. With the socially mobilized relief activities grow-ing so fast around the shopping center location, the county closed the official emergency shelter at the end of Day 2, and the joint church-citizen volunteer effort took over the relief function of supplying and feeding victims and volunteers (Matzke-Fawcett 2011a; Matzke-Fawcett and Myatt 2011b; VDEM 2011c).

    Although some of this occurred through the networks of local churches and area charitable organizations, a substantial amount of the social mobilization came through other, more infor-mal channels. Neighbors and family came to help victims sort through the debris and salvage belongings, clean up uprooted trees and tree limbs from yards, and work on damaged roofs. Mobilization for immediate debris cleanup and victim support activities came through friend-based and family-based social networks, neighborly channels, and who-knows-who personal connections (job-based, interest-based, and place-based networks). Even more informally, the broader regional social norm of helping each other out came into play as concerned strangers

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    from the county and the wider region responded by bringing themselves to the area to contribute whatever services they could offer. People from outside the affected area brought their chain saws and began informally helping to clear fallen limbs from the roads and yards, while others came to volunteer with supply distribution. Regional news reports include many of these indi-vidualized citizen efforts in articles on the first-day relief activities (e.g., Matzke-Fawcett 2011a; Matzke-Fawcett and Myatt 2011b). The appendix shows a breakdown of the speed, participating social groups, and types of labor and supply resources that were mobilized during the first days following the disaster.

    Days 3 to 4: Social Capital Mobilization Evolves RapidlyDay 3 marked the transition point from disaster response to early recovery through the formal emergency channels. That day all power was restored, and three teams of FEMA and VDEM personnel toured the tornado areas to assess the damages. Three official venues for collecting monetary donations were set up: the County established a Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund for mon-etary donations, with all funds earmarked specifically to assist tornado victims, whereas mone-tary donations were also being collected by the Red Cross and the United Way. Pulaski County established two phone numbers, one providing information about safety advisories, food and water distribution locations, and cleanup efforts, and the other for volunteers or donations (Matzke-Fawcett 2011b; Roberts 2011; VDEM 2011c; Williams 2011).

    In the evolving social capital mobilization process, Days 3 and 4 were the critical days: Social capital activities from the public and charitable organizations began to significantly coalesce on Day 3, and by Day 4, the volume of volunteered assistance and relief supplies coming from individual donations and collaborative supply-drive activities had ramped up substantially. Two important channels of information, the VDEM and the media, intersected to make this happen. On its Day 3 information release, VDEM listed all the volunteer efforts that they knew would be underway the following day. The television, radio, and online media chan-nels then picked up that information and made it readily available to the public to support the Day 4 activities (e.g., Roberts 2011). The social response was immense. As a Roanoke Times newspaper headline said, Volunteers Flock to Pulaski to Help after Tornado: Agencies and Nonprofits Are Matching Needs with Services as People Arrive in Pulaski to Help Out (Matzke-Fawcett 2011d).

    Two centralized staging areas developed. The Central Gym became the formal centralized human services assistance center with agencies and nonprofits present to match peoples needs with available services. Among those present were the Department of Social Services, Red Cross, Salvation Army, Community Action, Health Department, and Area Agency on Aging (VDEM 2011c). At the same time, the shopping center parking lot that had informally emerged on Day 2 as the central point for locally based church-sponsored activities, continued to evolve and expand services to aid victims and volunteers. Every denomination of church came out to help, and they informally organized to provide a set of complementary services. Some provided hot meals, whereas others focused on collecting and distributing donated sup-plies. Individual citizen volunteers also came to this center to help distribute food and supplies. VDEM began to direct the public to this site as the drop-off center to which people should bring material supply donations. Service facilities at this volunteer center evolved even more when, on Day 3, church-based disaster teams from outside the region began arriving, bringing contri-butions of mobile disaster equipment and volunteers to aid the effort. These were church-based groups that keep mobile disaster units and volunteers at the ready to be mobilized to provide disaster assistance wherever needed along the east coast Mid-Atlantic States. For example, one was Gods Pit Crew, a Danville, Virginia-based church volunteer group that travels to provide

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    aid at disaster sites on the east coast. Members began arriving in Pulaski on Day 3, Monday, April 11, and quickly set up to provide shower facilities in two mobile trailers, mobile washers and dryers, equipment for clearing debris and surveying damage, and a mobile kitchen trailer, from which they served hot meals. Another was Samaritans Purse, from Boone, North Carolina, who brought heavy equipment and labor for house repairs. They set to work cutting trees, installing tarps, repairing roofs, doing building repairs, and they especially targeted the homes of tornado victims who were without home insurance (Matzke-Fawcett 2011c; Roberts 2011; VDEM 2011c). The appendix table provides greater detail on the types of social groupswhich also included contributions from schools, businesses, and local universitiesand the services they provided during this two-day period.

    Days 5 to 7: The Social Capital Mobilization Process Escalates, Pushing the Limits of PlanningAnalysis of events occurring on Day 5 is significant because it shows the point at which the emergency management system could no longer cope with the unanticipated dimensions of the informal social mobilization response. By the evening of Day 4, the public response had become so great that the county government issued a statement saying that at this time we are maxed out with volunteer opportunities (VDEM 2011b), essentially trying to put the brakes on the escalating mobilization process underway. Analysis indicators of stress include not only the reports of the quick buildup of activities, volunteers, and supplies but also the telling descriptive phrases that appear in the documentation. For example, the pastor of the New Life Church of the Nazarene, the hub of church-based activities, described things there as a bit chaotic, while the descriptive word overwhelmed began appearing in the headlines of multiple news reports over Days 4 to 6, such as the Roanoke Times newspaper headline Pulaski County Overwhelmed by Outreach after Tornadoes (Matzke-Fawcett 2011d, 2011e; also Heineck 2011b). As Day 5 progressed, the tone of the VDEM press releases changed from saying the locality had reached the maxed-out saturation point for donations and volunteers, to issuing a stronger appeal to slow down supply donations, and then a longer statement attempting to shift public emphasis toward giving donations of cash and construction supplies geared for long-term recovery. By that days end, the county and VDEM issued a joint state-ment saying they were bringing in Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VA VOAD) and turning over the coordination of the volunteer grassroots activities to that semi-professional organization. VA VOAD is a coalition of volunteer groups and nongovernmental agencies that work cooperatively to coordinate volunteer efforts for disaster relief (VDEM 2011a, 2011b). This is a statewide group with experience coordinating volunteers that was brought in to take over (or rescue) the situation through a top-down action, and needs to be distinguished from a community-based group emerging from bottom-up regional planning efforts. The significance of this days events will be discussed further in the section of the article addressing Lessons Learned and Applications for Disaster Planning.

    Disaster assistance came not only from individuals, social groups, and charitable organiza-tions but also from neighboring county governments. On Day 5, the neighboring Montgomery Countys Emergency Manager stepped in to lend a hand. He announced that he would begin managing the Pulaski operations center for cleanup and recovery, taking that aspect over for the Town of Pulaski and Pulaski County officials. As he said, Theyre our neighbor, and thats what neighbors should do. This calls to mind the neighbors-helping-neighbors social norm of rural Appalachia discussed above. In a great statement that reflects the Appalachian deep-seeded norm of generalized reciprocity, he added, If I needed them in Montgomery County, theyd be there [for us] (Heineck 2011a).

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    On Day 6, the news channels began widely publicizing the slow-down message to the region (e.g., Matzke-Fawcett 2011e; WSLS 2011b). But the county had unleashed a social capital mobi-lization process, the magnitude of which they had not anticipated, and could not stop quickly. So the large heartfelt mobilization of donations of supplies and volunteer efforts set in motion ear-lier, continued to reap products in the form of supplies and volunteer labor that poured in, even after the county had reached its maxed-out point. Toward the end of Week 1, two large collabora-tively organized events occurred. One event involved a coordinated four-way highly publicized collaboration. WSLS (a television station), Gleaning for the World (a church-based disaster vol-unteer group), Q99 (a radio station), and the Salem Red Sox (a baseball team) held an all-day supply drive at the Salem Memorial Stadium parking lot. With a background of music and free hot dogs, people brought donations of water, food, clothing, and other essential supplies for the Pulaski tornado victims, and filled a large tractor-trailer full of donated supplies. The truck full of supplies was delivered to Pulaski the following day and, in part, led to Pulaski County needing to find a second storage facility to open to accommodate donated supplies. The other event was a 50-hour marathon fund-raising benefit held over Days 6 to 8 by Langley Speedway (Hampton, VA), and many radio stations, streamed worldwide, which added needed funds for the Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund (VDEM 2011c).

    Weeks 2 to 4: Social Capital Mobilization ExamplesWeek 2 witnessed a move into a more long-term, construction-based, recovery mode. The out-of-region church-based disaster teams left at the beginning of the week, and by midweek the Disaster Resource Center in the Central Gym shut down. The Red Cross stopped serving meals and many, but not all, of the local churches also tapered off or stopped serving meals (WDBJ 2011a; WSLS 2011c). The Virginia governor requested federal assistance for tornado victims. By the end of Week 2, the focus had fully shifted into the long-term recovery construction phase, with VDEM issuing a specific list of construction materials needed, and establishing numerous drop-off facilities for donated construction items, all of which signaled the full shift into a long-term recovery construction phase (VDEM 2011c).

    But social capital mobilization did not end at that point. As Weeks 2 to 4 continued, mone-tary and supply donation efforts continued on many local fronts through local businesses, schools, and social networking sites like Facebook. For example, one of the Facebook-based efforts was to organize the Pulaski County Relief Benefit, a music benefit concert to help raise funds for tornado victims through the New River Community Action poverty relief pro-gram (The Kind 2011). In another Facebook-based effort, Radford University students orga-nized a supply donation drive to collect clothing, nonperishable food, pet food, bedding, toiletry items, and other supplies for the tornado victims (Radford University Highlanders 2011).

    Many of these local-level donation mobilization activities were organized by concerned citizens who tapped into their friend-based, work-based, and interest-based social networks to organize donation drives. It is instructive to examine a couple of microcase examples that illustrate how social capital resources were actually generated by calling peoples localized social networks into action. One woman, who worked at Virginia Techs Veterinary School, and lived in Pulaski, was especially concerned about the pets affected by the tornadoes. She spearheaded an effort to set up a number of pet supply donation sites by developing a net-work that grew and evolved though a series of who-knows-who connections. To do this, she tapped into both the job-based network of people she knew through her employment at the veterinary school, plus her personal interest-based network of people outside of her job that shared a common interest in helping pets. Word spread through the regions pet-interest grapevine, and pretty soon multiple pet supply donation sites were set up. So, for example,

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    she contacted a friend who worked at Companion Animal Clinic in Blacksburg who, in turn, asked her office manager whether that veterinary clinic would set up a pet supply donation box in its lobby. People dropped off pet food, litter, pet beds, and pet toys for the tornado victims. Every couple of days, the woman who spearheaded the effort would come by this, and every other pet donation site she had helped establish, to pick up the donations, which she then contributed through a Pulaski church, to provide pet supplies to the tornado victims (Hutchens 2011).

    As another example, a woman who lived in neighboring Wythe County wanted to help the children of tornado victim families, so she spearheaded a drive to gather and deliver childrens toys and monetary donations to Pulaski. She drew on her personal social channels by making more than 100 telephone calls and posting her plans on her Facebook page. She also used her job-based network to collect donations from employees where she worked at Blue Ridge Nissan. She collected the donated supplies, and bought additional supplies with the monetary donations, then delivered all the accumulated items to the Pulaski Church of the Nazarene for distribution to tornado victims (Quesenberry 2011). These are just a couple examples of the ways in which concerned individual citizens called on the social capital resources available through their per-sonal social networks. The people that they contacted did the same, in a series of building layers, creating expanding donation networks through which supply and monetary contributions flowed into regional distribution sites.

    As the month progressed, the Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund got a big boost with a $30,000 to $50,000 donation from the Lions Club, specifically earmarked to provide low-to-no cost build-ing supplies for home repairs (Barnett 2011; Tate 2011; WDBJ 2011b). Members of the Cowboy Church of Virginia, a nondenominational group, worked to fill a tractor-trailer with donated housewares such as beds and furniture, kitchen items, electronics, and appliances. Employees of various regional businesses, such as Lowes Home Improvement and Lazer Spot, were organiz-ing donation drives at their business sites to collect donations of building supplies and gift cards for tornado victims (Matzke-Fawcett 2011f). At the end of Week 4, veterinarians and students from the VirginiaMaryland Regional College of Medicine and the Center for AnimalHuman Relationships held a pet clinic to provide free services for people affected by the tornadoes (Matzke-Fawcett 2011g; WSLS 2011d). These represent just some of the social mobilization efforts that took place during the month following the tornadoes, but they provide a good sense of the types of activities underway. Also during this time, the state governor approved up to $679,050 in state disaster assistance to the Pulaski County and Town governments for reimburse-ment of local government expenses during the emergency stage to help cover the formal emer-gency response costs for debris clearance, first responder overtime, and shelter operations (VDEM 2011c).

    One Month LaterThe mobilization effort continued, with public monetary donations coming in to build the Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund. One month later, May 9, the fund had reached a total of $236,152. Donations came from within Virginia as well as from 16 other states. Table 1 shows the break-down of donations by businesses, individuals, and religious organizations.

    At the one-month mark, just over 10 percent, $25,407.50, had been spent from the relief fund. The majority of the spent funds, $19,938, had been used for building materials and sup-plies for tornado-damaged homes. The relief fund was divided into two categories: (a) short-term lodging and vital needs that were being determined and processed through the Virginia Department of Social Services and (b) materials and supplies to repair uninsured damaged

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    homes that could reasonably be repaired for continued habitation. In all, 55 damaged, unin-sured homes were considered eligible for help under the provisions of the Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund. By May 9, repairs on 8 were completed and work on another 10 homes was underway, leaving about 37 homes yet to go. Uninsured homes received first priority and, if funds still remained, underinsured homes were to be targeted for a second phase of repair efforts. The fund had also been used to cover other expenditures: $2,500 for rent assistance, $2,024 for lodging for tornado victims, $798 for electrical assistance, and $146 for medical expense assistance. Also, at this one-month point, came the announcement that a committee had been established to manage the fund, consisting of local elected officials, County and Department of Social Services staff, the ministerial association, and other appointed stake-holders (VDEM 2011d; Williams 2011; WSLS 2011e).

    In addition, one month after the disaster came the announcement that FEMA had denied the states request for federal disaster assistance for Pulaski County. FEMAs reasoning was that the damage to dwellings and impacts from the tornadoes were not of such severity and magnitude to merit their own disaster declaration, and were not beyond the combined capa-bilities of the Commonwealth, affected local governments and voluntary agencies to take care of on their own (Associated Press 2011; Donnelly 2011; Hurst 2011a, 2011b). Although Virginia appealed that decision, FEMA rejected the states appeal (Sluss and Matzke-Fawcett 2011). This leaves rural Pulaski County to deal with the long-term disaster recovery phase, including continued cleanup and assistance to homeowners, using state and local government assistance, and largely relying on volunteerism and social capital resources. Pulaski officials said they never counted on the federal funds, and that they hoped to be able to fund the entire cleanup, but that the relief fund may fall short of helping all victims rebuild. Again, the county put out a call for volunteers with basic contracting experience to help with the long-term disaster recovery process, and donations continued to come in during the following weeks, although on a more targeted basis, especially in the form of cash donations and con-struction supplies needed for longer range rebuilding (Hurst 2011a; Sluss and Matzke-Fawcett 2011).

    One limitation of social capital support is that it becomes harder to sustain over an extended period of time beyond the disaster. The value of social capital needs to be recognized, and incorporated into early disaster recovery, but to say it needs much greater recognition and incorporation into planning does not also mean that disaster-assistance policies should take the position that social capital is a replacement for real forms of formal state and federal aid to help people recover. However, without FEMA funds, this rural area will have to rely heavily on continued social capital resources (cash and labor) generated through local-level socioeco-nomic networks, and the regional norm of neighborly reciprocity, to support long-term com-munity resilience.

    Table 1. Breakdown of Monetary Donations to the Tornado Fund after One Month

    Type Number Donation amount

    Businesses 94 businesses $152,953Individuals 471 individuals $76,331Religious 17 religious organizations $5,088 (not including services)Gift cards/certificates 47 cards/certificates

    (source unspecified)$1,780

    Source: VDEM (2011c), Williams (2011), WSLS (2011e).

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    Lessons Learned and Applications for Disaster Planning

    This study provides a microlevel view into the way that social capital is mobilized along local level and informal channels in a rural region in the aftermath of an environmental disaster. What went right and what went wrong in this situation? Analysis suggests that the VDEM and local county government had a well-planned formal organizational structure worked out so that emergency first responders and government agencies could quickly react to an unex-pected environmental disaster. This reflects the strengths of the command-and-control emergency management approach, a formal structural approach to quickly assess damage, handle injuries, and resume order (see Dynes 2006:18). This was effectively deployed the first day, as the description above indicates. However, where the emergency systems point of weakness began to emerge, during the third and fourth days following the tornadoes, was in underestimating the large volume of social capital resources that could be mobilized and offered by the public through more informal organizational channels. Social capital labor and supply contributions poured in, so that by the fourth day the sheer volume had reached the point of overwhelming the capacity of local government to manage it easily. The Assistant County Administrator, the official in change of managing the disaster response and recovery situation, went on record acknowledging that the experience had taught him lessons that have application value. After trying to manage the deluge of social capital donations on Days 3 to 4, he said during an interview that the most important lesson he had learned is how to better prepare for the outpouring of donations that the community received during the first days of the response/recovery process. Moreover, he indicated his intention to apply and incorporate these lessons into the countys future planning, saying,

    When the county updates our emergency response plan, I think we will need to pay some particular attention as to how to better manage those resources. Not that we havent man-aged them well, its just that its just so much. I may have underestimated the volume of resources, and people who are willing to help out. (Heineck 2011b)

    As this County Administrator learned, if you are going to tap into social capital by putting out a call for public assistance, you need to know how to use it effectively. Social capital resources come through a multitude of local-level social channels and, without planning, can seem chaotic, as this county experienced. A good disaster response system needs to anticipate this and have a planned method in place for coordinating and using public contributions.

    This study provides us with at least three lessons that can be profitably applied at the local and regional levels to further augment disaster response and recovery planning.

    1. It demonstrates the potential for mobilizing social capital resources in a rural region, and the speed, volume, social group processes, and individual actions through which resources can be mobilized following an unexpected disaster. It also includes some microlevel illustrations demonstrating the way individuals actually tapped into their social networks to generate assistance for disaster victims.

    2. It indicates that although social science authors such as Dynes (2005, 2006), Murphy (2007), and Ritchie and Gill (2011a, 2011b), among others, have written in the emer-gency disaster literature about the potential value and need for including social capital in disaster planning, the significance of that social capital inclusion message either has not fully been appreciated, or else has not yet fully made its way down to rural region emer-gency planners to be applied into practice and well integrated into emergency prepared-ness planning alongside the more formal structures (as demonstrated by this localitys

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    underpreparation for anticipating and coordinating its regions social capital mobiliza-tion response).

    3. It suggests the need for regional emergency planners to undertake applied research of the social capital potentials available within their own regions and to adopt a commu-nity-based disaster planning approach in which community groups and key resource people are identified, and are brought together in collaborative predisaster planning with emergency practitioners, to better anticipate, facilitate, and coordinate the poten-tial influx of social capital contributions that might be mobilized in emergency disaster situations so those resources can be inclusively used to the fullest.

    These issues are discussed at greater length below.

    Factoring Social Capital Mobilization into Disaster Response PlanningThis study speaks to the power of the public to tap into personal social networks to mobilize recovery assistance for community resilience to environmental disasters. Individuals did this in small and large ways, to the extent that they were able, guided by the norm of generalized reciprocity. Some helped family and neighbors, others offered whatever services they could muster to assist unknown strangers, and others tapped into preestablished networks of churches, businesses, schools, and voluntary associations to enlist assistance for the disaster victims. These individual strands began to weave together to collectively form an evolving disaster support network as various informal points of coordination developed, and then con-nected with other coordinating points, so that donated supplies and assistance were moving through the network linkages toward the social centers of distribution situated in the affected community. For example, informal points of coordination developed first around the church-coordinated distribution site that formed at a shopping center parking lot in the affected town, and then around the many supply drives, small to large, that emerged as informally gener-ated assistance efforts initiated by individuals, organizations (businesses, schools), and multi-organizational collaborations on a broad regional-wide basis. Those supply drives, after collecting substantial resources regionally, in turn funneled their collected resources through the evolving support network toward the church-coordinated distribution center established near the disaster site. Essentially, a social movement emerged immediately following the disaster and began to take on a social life of its own, the first two days building gradually as individuals and groups responded and began mustering assistance through their social net-works, and then by the third and fourth days increasing rapidly to reach a crescendo of support assistance that the local government had not fully anticipated in its disaster planning. In this example, the locality may have been better prepared to receive, channel, and use the social capital resources if the availability, volume, and speed of social capital resource contributions had been better researched, anticipated, and factored into predisaster preparedness planning and management policy. This takes us back to a point emphasized earlier in this article, that anticipation and preparation are considered critical components in most definitions of com-munity resilience to environmental disasters.

    Examination of situations like this can help practitioners formulate ideas about what to expect in social capital mobilization movements that develop in response to environmental disasters, at least in comparable rural regions of the United States. First, it can help in identify-ing and anticipating the types of social capital resources, in the form of donated supplies, volunteer labor, and other forms of assistance, that might be mobilized within a few days and weeks time. In the example discussed above, peoples labor contributions included volunteer staffing for the emergency shelter and the supply distribution areas, serving hot meals, crisis

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    counseling, helping victims sort through their possessions, cutting trees and clearing debris, installing tarps on roofs, and initial home repair services. Material supply donations included bottled water, food, hygiene items, clothing, furniture, bedding, toys, pet supplies, construc-tion materials, temporary shower/laundry facilities, and providing gift cards in addition to cash donations. Most of this was provided outside the formal channels of emergency planning by families and neighbors, church groups, schools, businesses, and a variety of special-interest groups. The appendix table is intended to go one step further, to provide emergency practitio-ners with more concrete specifics about the mobilization timeline, social groups that contrib-uted, and types of material and labor donations that were mobilized, with enough detail that it might generate ideas to apply to planning investigations of social capital potentials in their own regions.

    Second, the study identifies the types of social groups and networks that were drawn on to generate social capital responses and contributions. Dynes (2006:1416) discusses the role of social capital contributions in emergency response and recovery, and develops an analytical framework dividing the contributing social organizations into four types or categories, and iden-tifying the differences based on their structure and tasks. Murphy (2007:304305) further expands on these four categories in her analysis of social capital contributions in two disaster case studies from Canada and the Northeastern United States. In Dynes categorization, elabo-rated by Murphy, contributing groups are separated into the four-part analytical framework of established, expanding, extending, and emergent organizations.

    Established organizations (Type I) are organizations that continue to perform tasks similar to what they undertake in nondisaster contexts. So, for example, hospitals and government agencies like police and fire departments, and Departments of Forestry and Social Services, took charge of emergency response activities consistent with their usual missions, although on a much height-ened basis and coordinated through the formal emergency disaster authority structure.

    Expanding organizations (Type II) are groups whose goals and social networks are geared toward providing assistance in emergency situations, and which increase in size and take on new expanded activities to respond to disaster situations that arise. One good example identi-fied by Murphy (2007) and Tierney (1989) is the Red Cross who immediately responded to help staff the countys emergency shelter starting the night of the tornadoes, and later expanded their operations by adding volunteer staff drawn from further afield. Some other examples of expand-ing organizations from this study include Southwest Virginia regional charitable organizations such as the Roanoke Volunteer Center and Mercy Chefs, who also responded almost immedi-ately to provide assistance, and the Salvation Army who, within a few days, had set up a Food Canteen, offering a variety of home food delivery and other fundamental services for the tor-nado victims. This category also includes the church-based organizations whose goal is to pro-vide emergency disaster assistance within a large multistate section of the country. During Postdisaster Days 3 and 4, three of these organizations (Gods Pit Crew, Samaritans Purse, and Gleaning for the World) arrived on the scene and set to work to substantially augment the local regions social capital contributions.

    The first two categories contain groups that are mandated to provide emergency disaster services, whereas the next two categories involve social groups that evolve substantially beyond their normal day-to-day functions to help meet community needs in emergency disaster situa-tions. Extending organizations (Type III) are social and civic groups that already exist and rise to take on challenging tasks in response to disasters, doing so by using a relatively unchanged group authority structure. One example would be service club organizations that take on an extended role in disaster situations (Murphy 2007:305). So for example, in the study, the local chapter of the Lions Club service organization stepped up to extend its activities by raising a substantial cash donation to pledge in support of the regions tornado victims. Local church

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    congregations also fit into this category, extending their day-to-day religious-based structures to provide emergency assistance from their congregations. The local churches reacted imme-diately to informally organize the social capital backbone of the victim-assistance effort. Their informal collaboration started around one church site, and then quickly extended to provide a wide range of support and supply distribution services for the first two weeks fol-lowing the tornado, until victims needs in the disaster response and early recovery stages were met. This third category also includes local businesses and schools that responded by using their organizations to mobilize supply drives and by extending the functions of some of their existing programs to provide assistance to tornado victims. So, for example, the community high school extended the class activities of its Culinary Arts Program to prepare meals for the victims, and used a scheduled drama performance to take on additional functions as a fund-raiser for the victims.

    Especially interesting from a sociological standpoint are the spontaneously generated social groupings and networks that Dynes and Murphy refer to as emergent organizations. Emergent organizations (Type IV) are groups that emerge and develop to meet disaster needs felt to be unmet by other responders. Although emergency planners might find this fourth category a little less predictable, they should nevertheless expect that emergent organizations are likely to arise as spontaneous social capital mobilization networks and be prepared to facilitate their efforts. Dynes (2006) makes this point about having planning flexibility so as not to discour-age the spontaneity that often propels much social capital mobilization in disaster situations. Microlevel research provides insight into the social organizing dynamics that lead to emergent organizations. In the situation examined here, one prominent example of an emergent organi-zation was the ad hoc social group that formed around the perceived concern for the pet vic-tims of the tornadoes. This pet-focused group was rapidly formed by a few concerned individuals who built an emergent support network based on their personal social connections with the regions humane societies, pet shelters, and veterinary clinics. As documented above, this started with individuals who independently began calling on their own acquaintances via phone calls, the Internet, and personal visits to veterinary clinics to enlist a growing number of supporter contributors. As these networks began to overlap, they coalesced into a wider regional movement, gained strength through regional media attention (newspaper and televi-sion coverage), and emerged as a strongly focused tornado pet-support group that worked to gather up pet supply donations and provide free veterinary assistance for tornado victims pets (Hutchens 2011; Matzke-Fawcett 2011g; WSLS 2011d). As Murphy (2007:305) says, recog-nition of the deployment and creation of social capital capacity in these last two categoriesextending and emergent organizationsis especially important for understanding the bottom-up responses available immediately following a disaster (see also Dynes 2002; Tierney 1989; and Oliver-Smith and Hoffman 1999, for discussion of sociocultural responses following disasters).

    The social capital literature also identifies different means of organizing social capital in disaster situations through the mechanisms known as bonding, bridging, and linking (e.g., Ada and Serkan 2010:173; Hawkins and Maurer 2010; Mathbor 2007; Nakagawa and Shaw 2004). This distinction refers to the social layers that are drawn on, and knit together, to gen-erate support. Bonding social capital refers to resources available through the relatively strong relationships that exist between members of a network similar in form, such as the bonding relationships that relate people within kinship networks and also networks estab-lished between neighbors, close friends, and business coworkers (Ada and Serkan 2010:173; Hawkins and Maurer 2010:1779). When environmental disaster hit this rural Appalachian region, bonding social capital connections provided a first line of support for many tornado victims. Some of the bonding social capital mobilization can be tied to the long-standing

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    Appalachian regional support patterns, discussed earlier in this article, that are still a part of the regional mind-set today. These include the sense of responsibility to help out neighbors in need, and the reciprocal support ethics of church, family, and neighbor-based networks. It is not surprising that family, neighbors, coworkers, and other people socially close to the affected victims rallied quickly, through these bonded relationships to offer (to the best of their abilities) cleanup labor, material donations, and psychological support, and then acted to extend their help even further by calling on their own networks of people with common religious-based, job-based, and interest-based connections to generate additional assistance for the tornado victims. The sense of place-based sociocultural identity and the neighbors helping neighbors norm of generalized reciprocity extended well beyond the disaster-affected community to encompass a fairly large multiple-county region in Southwest Virginia, which facilitated the rapid regional mobilization of social capital resources within the first week after disaster struck.

    Bridging social capital refers to networks that relate people whose connections are more dissimilar and impersonal. Bridging social capital may connect people of differing age, socio-economic status, race/ethnicity, or education (Ada and Serkan 2010:173; Hawkins and Maurer 2010; Mathbor 2007; Nakagawa and Shaw 2004). Although this bridging form of social capi-tal is characterized as being weaker in social science literature, compared with bonding, that characterization may be a bit deceptive for practical application purposes. In fact, bridg-ing social capital provided another valuable level for mobilizing disaster recovery resources from the region at large. For example, in the first days following the disaster, strangers with few connections to the specific locale, on hearing of the tornado disaster, took it on them-selves to come to the site to provide assistance either by bringing their equipment and labor to help clear debris, or by coming to volunteer any services needed such as distributing sup-plies and meals. In addition, this bridging form of social capital was used on the regional level to mobilize large amounts of supply and cash donations for the tornado victims, and was especially activated through twenty-first century technology-facilitated channels of social connectedness. Two forms of bridging mobilization stand out in particular. One form of bridging resource mobilization occurred through Internet social networking and blogging campaigns to solicit assistance and publicize donation-focused events such as benefit con-certs. Another form of bridging resource mobilization occurred through large-scale media-sponsored campaigns (organized by television and radio channels) designed to rapidly spread information throughout the region about disaster victim needs and to organize region-wide public donation events to collect supply and cash contributions (specific examples are pro-vided in the discussion of Days 57 above). Some of the media-sponsored campaigns amassed large amounts of supply donations. As noted above, one of these events alone resulted in fill-ing a large tractor-trailer with supply donations for delivery to Pulaski at the end of Week 1 (after it reached the maxed-out point) and, in part, resulted in the county needing to locate a second storage facility to accommodate donated supplies. Thus, the mobilization potential through bridging social capital can be huge, and needs to be anticipated and factored into predisaster planning for best coordination and use.

    Both bonding and bridging were used extensively in this rural region to mobilize social capi-tal resources rapidly in the first week following the disaster. Emergency disaster planners should be able to use community-based research to identify and anticipate potential bonding and bridg-ing forms of social capital mobilization that might be offered and used in emergencies and, as a further step, engage in community-based preparedness planning for coordinating those antici-pated social capital resources (to be discussed below). Other disaster recovery studies have also pointed to bonding and bridging as available mechanisms for mobilizing social capital resources

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    in both rural and urban areas (Nakagawa and Shaw 2004, for Japan and India; Hawkins and Maurer 2010, for New Orleans). For example, Hawkins and Maurer (2010) discuss the ways in which bonding was important for immediate social support following the far more catastrophic disaster of Hurricane Katrina, while bridging generated possibilities for wider and longer term forms of support.

    Although bonding and bridging social capital are available to factor into disaster planning in rural regions, linking is another form of social capital in which rural regions stand to gain less support than perhaps would be available to larger urban areas. Hawkins and Maurer (2010:1780) define linking social capital as the extent to which individuals can build relationships with wider institutions and individuals that have power over them to provide access to resources. Some examples of linking social capital that they identify from post-Katrina New Orleans include the development of neighborhood coalitions that then expanded their social connections with other communities, and the supportive connections that were developed with the New Orleans community agency Common Ground Collective (Hawkins and Maurer 2010). In the smaller scale rural example presented here, linking forms of social capital have been harder to engage. The Pulaski Community Action agency started with few resources to provide to a rural region with a high poverty rate, and although the agency drew on its social connections to gain national attention in a Washington Post feature story the week following the disaster (Saslow 2011), that brief time in the media spotlight probably did more to leverage publicity than it did to gain substantive financial assistance for the tornado victims. The only real form of linkage available to tornado victims in this rural area was through the town and county administration to the governors office. That linkage helped victims gain limited tax relief and gain access to funds from a $1.5 million Community Development Block Grant to help some of the uninsured and underinsured homeowners with home rebuilding, after FEMA assistance was denied (WDBJ 2011c).

    Community-Based Research Applied to Environmental Disaster PlanningAs social capital is mobilized bottom-up out of community-based networks, it stands to rea-son that the application of community-based research would aid emergency planners in identifying and anticipating localized social capital potential, and in developing plans for coordinating social capital resource mobilization in the event of environmental disasters. What is community-based research, and how might it be applied for emergency disaster plan-ning? A community-based approach is one in which planners and other applied practitioners carry out a project by intentionally engaging and working with key groups and members of the community to attain a common goal. The community-based approach is also referred to in social science literature as a participatory development or partnership approach because of its emphasis on seeking participatory input and involvement from community groups and its emphasis on solving problems using a nonhierarchical, collaborative style of interaction. A community-based planning design takes an intentional bottom-up approach, attempting to identify representative members of all sectors of the community that might be affected, and to inclusively seek out their input and participation in the planning process. This is a differ-ent style than the more top-down, hierarchical approach in which planners and other practi-tioners might assume they know, by virtue of their formal training, what is best or most efficient for a community, and then proceed to implement their planning with little commu-nity input (LaLone 2009). The problem is that these two approaches are often considered to be at odds with one another, rather than being viewed as two complementary resource chan-nels that might work together with double capacity to attack and solve a problem of need.

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    In reference to emergency disaster planning, the more formal, controlled top-down style is represented in the command-and-control model that has guided emergency disaster man-agement style for the past decade (Dynes 2006). Although this formal top-down command-and-control model does indeed provide solid first-responder emergency services, the study presented above suggests that it might well be enhanced with additional community-based planning to fully anticipate and use available social capital contributions for disaster response and recovery.

    As the community-based model has taken hold in the social sciences, its application has begun to spread into applied, practical fields including emergency disaster planning. Review of the emergency planning literature shows a growing application of community-based disas-ter preparedness (gaining the acronym CBDP), in case studies from the Philippines (Allen 2006), Bangladesh (Mathbor 2007), Kobe, Japan, and Gujarat, India (Nakagawa and Shaw 2004), and rural communities in Manitoba, Canada (Buckland and Rahman 1999). Across these studies, the emphasis is on inclusion of social capital assessment research and participa-tory development in disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. For example, based on his research in coastal zone Bangladesh, Mathbor (2007) concludes that community capacity building through effective use of social capital is crucial in disaster management projects (p. 358). Rather than taking a top-down approach, driven by outside experts, the community-based model shifts the emphasis toward developing collaborative civil societygovernment partnerships. The CBDP literature places the focus on developing an understanding of the communities involved, including their social capital potentials, and on engaging and increas-ing local capacity-building within local communities, in conjunction with local government, as a means of increasing community resilience to disasters (Allen 2006:83; Mathbor 2007). As Allen states, CBDP is an increasingly important element of disaster management. At the same time, she warns not to consider it the panacea to the problems of disaster management (Allen 2006:82).

    The work of Dynes (2002, 2005, 2006) and other social scientists focusing on the role of social capital in disaster recovery (Murphy 2007; Richie and Gill 2011a, 2011b), taken together with the work of Allen (2006) and other CBDP researchers, jointly builds a strong argument for the re-visioning of disaster preparedness planning as an endeavor that requires two complementary approaches for greatest success. As a complement to the formalized top-down emergency planning protocol, there is clear need for equal attention to be directed toward development of a community-based research and planning approach that works bot-tom-up from the local level, engaging community members directly in a collaborative process of identifying and developing social capital mobilization capacities. Although this discussion is happening in the academic literature, and may well be entering into practice to some degree, the rural Appalachian study presented here indicates that the significance of this dual-planning approachwhich incorporates anticipation, capacity-building, and planning for social capi-tal mobilizationhas not yet fully penetrated into disaster preparedness planning in the United States.

    This returns us to the problem presented earlier in this article: that planners and policymak-ers often underestimate, undervalue, or simply fail to incorporate the social capital mobilization potentials available from locally based social networks into planning projects. It points to the need for practitioners to approach regional planning from a holistic, socialecological systems perspective. One important aspect of a systems approach is the recognition that within any given region, there are multiple levels of resource networks to factor into planning, from the more formalized federal, state, county, and locality planning and policy systems, down toand includingthe local-level social structures and networks that bind people into families,

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  • LaLone 227

    work-based groups, and many types of interest-based groups. Although these localized social structures might seem invisible or insignificant to policymakers and planners, it is clear from the study presented here that these on-the-ground social structures can, when the need arises, rather quickly transform themselves into resource-mobilization structures of value for disaster relief and recovery.

    So how might community and regional planners actually apply community-based research in their localities for disaster preparedness planning? Each locality is different in its specific socio-cultural makeup, and clearly this involves site-specific planning. Nevertheless, planners can apply a general set of guidelines to organize a collaborative community-based research and plan-ning effort in their own localities to gain information, input, and participatory action. Based on some of the lessons learned through the study presented here, a short list of general community-based research guidelines would include the following:

    1. Do not underestimate the social capital potential of a specific community and its wider region. Although community-based networks might seem superficial or insignificant to outside planners, these are indeed the on-the-ground bonding and bridging social support structures that will be offered, as circumstances allow. As this example shows, bonding and bridging social capital has potential for being mobilized rapidly, and needs to be factored into disaster planning.

    2. Develop a collaborative, community-based preparedness planning group based on the study of the particular community to identify community groups and key resource people who should be represented and considered to be stakeholders, inclusively containing representatives from all sectors of the community. The specific composi-tion should be tailored to each community based on the localitys characteristics of occupation, gender and age, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic class structure, and other place-based characteristics. Formation of a community-based planning group should be integral to predisaster preparedness planning, rather than a postdisaster action.

    3. Emphasize community-based discussion, brainstorming, and planning, in which the goal is to bring all players to the table on a nonhierarchical basis so they can col-laboratively consider issues, offer input that is taken seriously, and feel a real sense of participation in community resilience planning (i.e., doing all to facilitate actual bottom-up planning).

    4. Enlist assistance from social scientists trained in community-based research (from local universities and consulting groups) who can apply their training to help local government develop the research design and facilitate community-group discussion and coordination. In addition, their familiarity with the social capital literature would enable them to guide planners on ways to avoid social inequality and unequal assis-tance in the disaster recovery process (see Point 5).

    5. As part of community-based planning, also recognize the socioeconomic situations that might lead to unequal assistance and distribution, as well as community factions and potentials for conflicting interests, and attempt to overcome those discrepancies and conflicts through careful planning of the resource utilization and distribution process (see Tierney 2006b for discussion on social inequality in disasters). The goal would be to ensure social equity in the resource distribution system.

    6. Develop a plan, based on community input and consensus, to facilitate and coordinate organization of a supply resource staging and distribution center that could be assembled quickly in the event of environmental disasters. Do not wait to have a supply staging area

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  • 228 Journal of Applied Social Science 6(2)

    materialize on an ad hoc basis, but instead engage the community-based group in devel-oping predisaster planning for an emergency staging area that can be activated quickly to effectively coordinate the distribution of meals, supplies, and basic services to vic-tims (this would help minimize the first-day perception of chaos as a staging area comes together).

    7. Have a plan in place for how best to use volunteers when they come (to minimize the feeling for volunteers and organizers alike, of a chaotic unplanned disaster response situation).

    8. Prepare a guideline list of volunteer donation needs (laid out by days and stages following a disaster), so it is ready to be publicized widely by the media starting immediately after a disaster. The goal would be to provide the public with structured guidance as they gather together supplies and tap into their networks to mobilize assistance.

    9. Anticipate that a regionally based social capital mobilization process is likely to emerge and evolve quickly, and therefore be prepared to have additional supply storage facili-ties available on the sidelines to accept and use donated resources.

    10. Give the community-based planning group more than just a simple advisory role to government. Make social capital capacity-building a central focus of their activities. Respect their local knowledge of people and resources, and give the group an empow-ering role in identifying and taking action to build community assets for enhanced community resilience to disasters (using resources such as Kretzmann and McKnight 1993, and Green and Haines 2008, for guidance in community capacity-building).

    A growing body of emergency disaster planning reports are becoming available with models and frameworks for community emergency planners to consider as they develop regional disas-ter plans and policies that better incorporate the community into planning considerations (e.g., Buckle et al. 2001; Murphy et al. 2005; Ronan and Johnston 2005; Pasteur 2011, to mention a few). Although regional social capital resources should not be considered sufficient, by them-selves, to weather a community through disastrous situations, neither should they be treated as irrelevant in disaster planning. Numerous studies suggest that the command-and-control model that has taken prominence in emergency planning, and is certainly critical for immediate emergency response, could be greatly augmented by seriously incorporating a complementary bottom-up community-based approach, informed through social science methods and perspec-tives, that includes community-based involvement, study, and capacity-building into disaster preparedness.

    The lessons learned here are many. They point to the potential for rapidly generating social capital resources through localized social networks and channels when regions are hit with disas-ters, even in rural regions that have relatively little to spare. They illustrate patterns in the social mobilization process in terms of the timing and types of resources that can be mobilized in the first days and first weeks following a disaster. Moreover, from an applied standpoint, the lessons point to the need for planning bodies to think about resource management holistically, including informal local-level social resource channels, along with the more formal channels, when devel-oping disaster planning. The case demonstrates the need for local planning bodies to have greater recognition and anticipation of the potential social capital contributions that will be generated in heartfelt responsesneighbors helping neighborsfrom within their regions, so that they are best prepared to use those socially generated responses and resources effectively for community resilience in environmental risk and disaster situations.

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  • 229

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  • 230

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  • 231

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  • 232 Journal of Applied Social Science 6(2)

    Declaration of Conflicting Interests

    The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or pub-lication of this article.

    Funding

    The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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    Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 2011c. Tornadoes in Pulaski. Postings April 8May 10. Retrieved May 14, 2011 (VAEmergency.com, Newsroom & Archives, Disaster Mini-site http://pulaski-tornadoes.tumblr.com/page/1,2,3,4,5 (5 pages total).

    Virginia Department of Emergency Management. 2011d. Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund and Volunteer Efforts. Retrieved November 28, 2011 (http://pulaski-tornadoes.tumblr.com/post/5364904625).

    Ward, Lindsey. 2011. Pulaski Tornado Victims React to FEMAs Decision. WSLS, Roanoke. May 8. Retrieved May 8, 2011 (http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/may/08/pulaski-tornado-victims-react-femas-decision-ar-1025193/).

    WDBJ. 2011a. Daily Emergency Aid for Pulaski Tornado Victims Ends: Thursday Is the Last Day for Daily Meals and Other Services. WDBJ, Roanoke. April 21. Retrieved May 12, 2011 (http://www.wdbj7.com/news/wdbj7-daily-emergency-aid-for-pulaski-tornado-victims-ends-20110421,0,1941672.story).

    WDBJ. 2011b. Lions Club Donates $50,000 to Pulaski Tornado Victims: The Lions Club International Foundation Made the Donation. WDBJ, Roanoke, April 25. Retrieved May 8, 2011 (http://www.wdbj7 .com/news/wdbj7-lions-club-donates-50000-to-pulaski-tornado-victims-20110425,0,3277632.story).

    WDBJ. 2011c. McDonnell Announces Funding for Pulaski to Help Rebuild after April Tornado. WDBJ, Roanoke. September 22. Retrieved September 24, 2011 (http://www.wdbj7.com/news/wdbj7-mcdon-nell-announces-funding-for-pulaski-to-help-rebuild-after-april-tornado-20110922,0,4411212.story).

    Weil, Frederick D. 20052011. Post-Hurricane Katrina Research and Recovery Work. Retrieved March 8, 2011 (http://www.lsu.edu/fweil/KatrinaResearch).

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    Williams, Melinda. 2011. Ten Percent of Fund Spent. Southwest Times. Online Edition, Pulaski, May 12. Retrieved May 14, 2011. (http://www.southwesttimes.com/2011/05/archive-5943/).

    WSLS. 2011a. Pulaski Tornadoes Relief: Wednesday Updates. WSLS, Roanoke. April 13. Retrieved May 6, 2011 (http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/apr/13/17/pulaski-tornadoes-recovery-wednesday-curfew-be-lif-ar-969680/).

    WSLS. 2011b. Pulaski Tornadoes Relief Needs Change. WSLS, Roanoke. April 15. Retrieved May 11, 2011 (http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/apr/15/pulaski-tornadoes-relief-needs-change-ar-975412).

    WSLS. 2011c. Pulaski Transitions from Emergency to Recovery Mode. WSLS, Roanoke. April 21. Retrieved May 11, 2011 (http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/apr/21/pulaski-transitons-emergency-recovery-mode-ar-988391/).

    WSLS. 2011d. Pulaski Tornado Pet Owners to Get Help Saturday, May 7th. WSLS, Roanoke. May 4. Retrieved May 8, 2011 (http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/may/04/pulaski-tornado-pet-owners-get-help-saturday-may-7-ar-1017522/).

    WSLS. 2011e. Pulaski Tornado Relief Fund at $236,000, Some Home Repairs Complete. WSLS, Roa-nok. May 10. Retrieved May 11, 2011 (http://www2.wsls.com/news/2011/may/10/pulaski-tornado-relief-fund-236000-some-home-repai-ar-1029169/).

    Bio

    Mary B. LaLone is a professor in the Department of Sociology and a research associate of the Center for Social and Cultural Research at Radford University in Virginia. She has been conducting both applied community-based research and oral history research in Appalachian Southwest Virginia since the early 1990s. Her published work includes the oral histories Appalachian Coal Mining Memories (1997) and Appalachian Farming Life (2003), and numerous articles on community-based research, including the recent chapter Guidelines for a Partnership Approach to Appalachian Community and Heritage Preservation Work (2009). Her interest in community resilience to environmental disasters developed into the theme for the environmental sociology class she teaches at Radford University.

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