Research Counts

The Research Counts series serves as a platform for hazards and disaster scholars to provide insights about research findings and the enduring lessons of disaster, as well as to raise new questions that are worthy of exploration. The pieces in the series are brief, drawn from a variety of disciplines, and intended for a broad audience.

By Lori Peek

The importance of getting disaster lessons into the hands of those who need it is more pressing than ever. Lori Peek describes a new Natural Hazards Center platform to do just that—Research Counts is dedicated to giving experts an opportunity to apply their knowledge to current disasters, as well as ponder new questions.

By Risa Palm, Toby Bolsen, and Justin Kingsland

Opinions on the wisdom of rebuilding in flood zones can vary based on many factors—including how the benefits and risks are presented. Learn more about what can sway the public for or against using federal funds for such efforts.

By Ilan Kelman, Stephen Roberts, and Gareth Byatt

The COVID-19 pandemic claimed millions of lives, but stronger international cooperation, better management of isolation, and socio-technological solutions could have reduced the most devasting impacts. This piece explains how.

By Jennifer Blanks

Cemeteries are invaluable resources that honor our dead, preserve our history, and sustain our cultural identity. This article examines available resources to protect these places and reminds us that such work should be practical and equitable.

By Ronald Schumann and Elyse Zavar

Although commemorations of disaster are often seen as a universal good that promotes remembrance, community, and healing, they might not be perceived that way by all. This article details the value of commemorations and ways to ensure they are just and inclusive.

By Shefali Juneja Lakhina, Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Brandon Smith, and Daniel Godwin

Many U.S. communities are experiencing deteriorating forest health, fuel management issues, and increasing wildfire risk. Read this Research Counts to learn about a range of strategies for a sustained, diverse, and future-ready forestry and fire workforce.

By Jennifer Collins and Amy Polen

Concerns about contracting COVID-19 in a shelter environment can lead some to shelter in place, even when it’s not the safest option. Learn more in the latest Research Counts.

By Barbara Carby and Therese Ferguson

Inclusive planning that maximizes the skills and abilities of those with impairments can increase disaster resilience for the whole community.

By Oronde Drakes, Eric Tate, Jayton Rainey, and Sam Brody

Federal programs to help individuals after disaster don’t always provide equitable recovery. This latest Research Counts article looks at how some areas are underserved.

By Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, Jackie Ratner, Daniel Kushner, and Susanna Aguilar

Investments in electrical infrastructure can have big payouts for societal resilience, but more data is needed to help planners and policymakers make the case for funding. An exercise in Chicago offers a roadmap for how we can begin to quantify the benefits.

By Shefali Juneja Lakhina

Conducting research during these trying times will take all the foundational techniques at our disposal—and more. Read more to learn how conducting caring research can support both participants and researchers.

By Naim Kapucu and Fernando Rivera

Rural communities can have less resources to respond to and recover from disasters. Collaboration is key to expanding their capacity.

By Anaís Delilah Roque, David Pijawka, and Amber Wutich

A connected community is a strong community. Read how Puerto Rican’s extensive experiences with disaster have created social cohesion that makes them resilient.

By Anamaria Bukvic

To be more effective, programs and policies that help people relocate away from repetitive coastal disasters should consider what influences their willingness to leave their homes.

By Jennifer A. Horney, Colten Strickland, and Caroline Dwyer

We know that engaging all community members in mitigation planning is a best practice—now we’re learning how to do that equitably. Read more in the latest Research Counts.

By Jason von Meding and Ksenia Chmutina

Using the term “natural” in conjunction with disaster obscures the ways that risk is created. Learn more about the data behind why that matters.

By Tonya Haigh, Walter Schacht, Cody Knutson, Alexander Smart, Jerry Volesky, Michael Hayes, and Mark Burbach

Planning for drought might seem like an unnecessary expense to ranch managers—especially in moister years—but recovering from drought is more expensive. Learn more about cost-effective drought planning in this Research Counts.

By Kelly Klima and Ismael Arciniegas Rueda

While disaster recovery costs will always come with uncertainties, new trends in cost estimation can limit them somewhat and help rebuild faster.

By Susan Charnley

Reducing hazardous fuels can be effective in keeping wildfire manageable, but there can be many barriers to achieving mitigation goals. Read more about how obstacles can be overcome.

By Robin Dillon-Merrill

Learn how coming close to experiencing disasters can make people more likely—or not—to prepare for the next event.

By Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, Jackie Ratner, Shay Bahramirad, and Aleksi Paaso

A power outage alone can be a disaster and even more so when they accompany larger events such as floods or a heatwave. Microgrids could be the answer to ensuring that communities have access reliable electricity in times of emergency.

By Laura Olson and Ryan Alaniz

Drought response in the United States needs to change now or we may not be able to respond to future challenges. The lessons of California could prove as a bellwether for the nation. Learn more in the latest addition to Research Counts.

By Alessandra Jerolleman

Disaster recovery is never easy, but for vulnerable people and communities, built-in injustices can create recovery next to impossible. Learn how applying four principles can make disaster recovery more just.

By Paola Minoia and Johanna Hohenthal

Water scarcity is the result of numerous factors, and so the solutions that drive change will need to be multi-faceted as well.

By Nicole S. Hutton and Michael Allen

Legislation that ensures eldercare facilities keep the power on during disasters—preventing needless deaths from heat or equipment failure—are necessary, but they need to be thoughtfully implemented.

By Richard Olson

Mexico's incoming administrations, who ran on the platform that they were "not them," will have a lot to prove when it comes to the politics of disaster mitigation and response.

If you are interested in contributing to this series, please contact Natural Hazards Center Director Lori Peek directly at


Research Counts is made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF Award #1635593) and supplemental support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Integrated Drought Information System (NOAA-NIDIS). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF, FEMA, NOAA-NIDIS, or Natural Hazards Center.