Again, I can’t thank you enough for the important insights you are bringing, and the clear manner in which they are expressed.
Your comments make me realize that organizations like Engineers Without Borders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineers_Without_Borders ) can provide a critical service. Though normally, they focus on international development, it is clear that there is a need in disaster situations, for a team of people with expertise and perspective in planning and managing the restoration of critical municipal or county infrastructure. Not to take anything away from the Army Corps of Engineers, but my sense is that they provide skill and capacity in the components of the infrastructure, but not necessarily expertise in understanding how the pieces all fit together, and what gets restored in what order to get a region and its administration back on its feet. I think for that, you need a team of city planners and civil engineers who go from disaster to disaster.
Maybe such a thing exists already. I don’t know. But certainly from your comments, it would seem like such thorough contingency planning tends not to be at the top of the list for many municipalities and counties. That’s not a criticism, as such. The ways and extents to which natural disasters can affect any given area are vast, and expecting the folks in a municipality of 50k (like Joplin) to have the expertise and capacity to think that through, is expecting more than is reasonable of any city of that size.