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Professional Society Presents Disaster Assessment Manual

Publication Date: 9/9/2009
Format: HTML

The American Society of Civil Engineers has produced a manual of policies and procedures for organizing and conducting damage assessments after man-made or natural disasters. The Post-Disaster Assessment Manual was developed on the recommendation of an independent task force, led by Sherwood Boehlert, retired congressman and former chair of the House Science Committee. The task force was asked by ASCE in late 2007 to review its damage-inquest and peer-review practices after the credibility of some recent investigations, particularly the peer review of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-funded study of Hurricane Katrina, was challenged by critics. They said issues related to funding sources, communications and alleged conflicts of interest aroused suspicion of bias. Although neither the Boehlert study nor an internal review found lapses of integrity, tightening up and documenting the organizing and operating principals of such inquiries was strongly recommended.

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