Disaster Response and Recovery Resources

The following resources will help you stay informed about community responses to archives-related disasters, as well as national and international aid initiatives.

For immediate advice or assistance, see the Northeast Document Conservation Center's Emergency Resources or contact NEDCC's 24/7 Emergency Hotline at 855-245-8303. 


Resources for Response to COVID-19 Health Crisis
The SAA Council has created the following page to provide links to tools for managerial advocacy, support for displaced archives workers, and other resources to help the archives community navigate this global health crisis.

HENTF COVID-19 Resource Hub
The Heritage Emergency National Task Force has launched this web portal with an array of resources that can help you and your constituents respond to and recover from the pandemic. 


National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives
Originally established to address the stabilization and recovery needs of archival repositories affected by Hurricane Katrina, this fund now provides grants that support the recovery of archives collections from major disasters, regardless of region or repository type.


WILDFIRE Recovery Resources

HURRICANE Recovery Resources 

FLOOD Recovery Resources


Support for Hurricane Ida Aftermath (September 2021)

Recovery Resources for Flash Flooding + Hurricane Henri (August 2021)

Texas Severe Winter Storm (February 2021)

Tropical Storm Cristobal (June 2020)

Flood Recovery Resources for Tropical Storm Imelda (September 2019)

Hurricane Dorian (September 2019)

Midwest Flooding (March 2019)

Hurricane Lane (August 2018)

NEH Chairman's Emergency Grants Available for Humanities Institutions Impaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma (September 2017)

Hurricane Irma (September 2017)

Hurricane Harvey (August 2017)

National Heritage Responders Available to Assist with Tropical Storm Hermine (Sept. 2016)

FEMA: Be Informed - Natural Disasters (May 2012)

Earthquake in Chile (Feb. 2010)

International Relief for Haitian Cultural Heritage (Feb. 2010)

Upper Midwest Flooding (Heritage Emergency National Task Force Archive of Disaster Information) (March 2009)

Tragedy in Cologne, Germany (March 2009)

Emergency Response for Midwest Flooding (June 2008)

Iraqi Archives (2003-2008)

Hurricane Katrina Recovery Information (Sept. 2005)

CA Wildfires NHR Release 12.7.17.pdf181.13 KB

Compiled News

Hurricane Harvey (August 2017)

From the Heritage Emergency National Task Force

August 24, 2017—According to the National Hurricane Center, tropical storm Harvey's remnant is forecast to regain tropical cyclone strength in the next day or two. Once Harvey starts affecting the Texas coast, up to ten inches of rain will be possible over the next week. The system is expected to bring prolonged periods of heavy rainfall and flooding across portions of Texas and southwest Louisiana. There is the potential for storm surge and tropical-storm or hurricane-force winds across portions of the Texas coast from Friday through the weekend.

Be Prepared!

As Harvey approaches Texas and Louisiana, it’s important that individuals and cultural institutions in these states prepare:

  • Gather your staff and review your disaster plan today. No disaster plan? Put that at the top of the to-do list once the storm passes (and hope you didn’t need it this time).
  • If you have a disaster plan, make sure everyone has a printed copy to take home. An electronic version may be useless if you lose power.
  • Make sure staff, volunteer, and board contact lists are up to date. Determine how you will communicate with one another before, during, and after the storm.
  • Make sure your insurance and disaster recovery vendor contact information is readily available.
  • Back up electronic records and store the back-ups off-site or in the cloud.
  • Secure outdoor furniture, bike racks, book drops, signage, etc. – anything that can become a projectile in strong winds.
  • Move collections that are in areas vulnerable to flooding (i.e., the floor, the basement) or susceptible to rain (near windows or under roofs) out of harm’s way.
  • If you have time, cut lengths of plastic sheeting to be able to throw them over shelves, cabinets, or equipment should the building envelope be compromised.
  • Know the location and shut-off procedures for water, electricity, and gas.
  • Review individual or family plans. You’ll feel better attending to your organization knowing that your loved ones are safe.


  • Download the FEMA mobile app for disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips. The app (available in English and Spanish) provides a customizable checklist of emergency supplies, maps of open shelters and recovery centers, disaster survival tips, and weather alerts from the National Weather Service. The app also enables users to receive push notifications reminding them to take important steps to prepare their homes and families for disasters. https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app
  • Keep this 24/7 hotline number handy: 202.661.8068. The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and collections care professionals administered by the Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation, are available 24/7 to provide advice.

Earthquake in Chile (February 2010)

February 28, via ALA's Online newsletter - National Library, museums damaged in Chilean earthquake (original Spanish version) (Google translation to English). The National Library of Chile in Santiago has closed to the public after suffering damage in the February 27 earthquake. A crack in the dome, cracks in the walls that run from the first to the fourth floors, and cracks in the ceilings in several sections are being assessed by structural engineers. Other damaged buildings include the National Archives, the Recoleta Dominica (housing offices of the Library, Archives, and Museums headquarters), the Museum of Fine Arts, the National Historical Museum, and the Museum of Education Gabriela Mistral....El Mercurio (Santiago), Feb. 28, Mar.

International Relief for Hatian Cultural Heritage (January 2010)

From Heritage Emergency National Task Force Information on Major Disasters: "Initial reports about damage to cultural heritage in Haiti following the devastating January 12th earthquake are posted on the Web sites of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the International Council of Museums. The International Committee of the Blue Shield has launched an online registration form for volunteer heritage experts, and Libraries Without Borders is requesting donations of books in French for Haitian university libraries. An assessment team, sponsored by archives and library organizations in the Caribbean, is now in Haiti. Humanitarian relief continues to be the priority, and official recovery efforts from the U.S. are being coordinated through the United States Agency for International Development." [Read more]

April 11-16, 2010 – The Blue Shield International sent Danielle Mincio (IFLA) and Christophe Jacobs (ICA and ANCBS) to Port-au-Prince to work with Haitian colleagues. They arrived with information to the establishment of the Blue Shield Center for the treatment of damaged cultural heritage properties. They also completed assessments made previously to quantify the affected collections and various types of treatments that will be offered at the center.

Download the International Blue Shield's Mission to Haiti Report [1.5 MB].

March 16, 2010 – Smithsonian Delegation to Haiti Report, March 6-8, 2010, Prepared by Corine Wegener, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield.

February 19, 2010 – SAA has received updates from several sources on international efforts to provide relief for Haitian cultural heritage.

According to a February 17 press release, UNESCO laid the foundation for an International Coordination Committee (ICC) for Haitian culture at a February 16 meeting in Paris, chaired by Haitian Minister of Culture and Communication Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue. UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said, "Our goal is to define the most effective means that will allow UNESCO to help prepare and implement a comprehensive programme for the benefit of Haitian culture, by drawing on the vast capacities of your country’s cultural community, which has already mobilized its efforts, and by calling on internationally renowned experts." According to the press release, "The Committee, which will be similar to those established by UNESCO for Cambodia, Afghanistan and Iraq, will be officially created once it receives final approval from UNESCO’s Executive Board at its next session (30 March – 15 April)."

The International Council on Archives released a "Statement on Haiti Needs" (including a "Statement on Requirements") on February 11. Read it here.

SAA Past President Maygene Daniels attended a February 5 meeting of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield to learn about relief efforts. This coalition of cultural property organizations (including SAA) is standing ready to assist UNESCO and/or other efforts approved by the Haitian Ministry of Culture when requested.

February 4, 2010 - SAA Council members discussed SAA's response to the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti on January 12, 2010. Gottlieb reported that SAA Past President Maygene Daniels would be representing SAA at a meeting of the U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, along with other concerned organizations, on February 5, 2010, in Washington. SAA committed to becoming a conduit of information for members regarding relief efforts and opportunities to assist in the recovery of Haitian cultural heritage.

American Association of Museums has issued a statement.

American Library Association is requesting book donations and has set up an earthquake relief fund.

International Federation of Library Associations is tracking libraries status and damage at http://www.ifla.org/en/haiti-earthquake-2010 and encouring folks to get ready to help respond.

International Council of Museums is requesting sign-ups for salvage work and has issued a statement.

International Committee of the Blue Shield has launched an online registration form http://haiti2010.blueshield-international.org/node/3 for volunteer archivists, restorers, curators, librarians, architects, and other experts. This registration will help ICBS link official missions to Haiti with appropriate experts.

Library of Congress linked their online earthquake salvage information to their homepage immediately after the earthquake, sent out an RSS feed on where to find information for salvage of collections following an earthquake, and arranged for US Blue Shield Representative Nancy Gwinn to speak at the FLICC Safety Net meeting on 2/23 in hopes that they could help scrounge volunteers for salvage work in Haiti.

Libraries Without Borders requested donations of books in French for Haitian university libraries.

National Library of the Dominican Republic, along with some other archives and library organizations in the Caribbean, sent an assessment team to Haiti with a report due back in a week. HP will likely track and share it.

United Nations efforts in Haiti are described at http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/missions/minustah/

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) attempts to provide assistance are summarized at: http://www.unesco.org/en/haiti-quake/ Their fact sheet is here and a good summary of post disaster response activities is here.

U.S. Agency for International Development is coordinating U.S. official relief efforts and a Haiti Earthquake fact sheet.

Additional humanitarian relief info is at: www.reliefweb.int.

Tragedy in Cologne (March 2009)

The Society of American Archivists extends its sincere condolences to the families and friends of nine people missing since the collapse in Germany of a building housing Cologne's historical archives on March 3, 2009.

We send our hopes and prayers that our colleagues will recover from this extraordinary disaster.

See also video footage, photo gallery, and other articles of the aftermath.

Appeal for volunteers from the Director of the Cologne archives
(SALON - the Society of Antiquaries of London Online Newsletter)

Last Victim Found as Cologne Effort Switches to History

Photo Gallery: The Effort to Save Cologne's History

Nine missing as Cologne archives collapse

Emergency Response for Upper Midwest Flooding (June 2008)

NEH: The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has announced it will provide $1 million in Emergency Flood Assistance Grants for museums, libraries, archives, universities and other cultural and historical institutions in federally designated disaster areas affected by the floods in the Midwest. Applicants should contact the Division of Preservation and Access by e-mail (preservation[at]neh.gov) or by telephone (202/606-8570) to describe the humanities collections at risk and the nature of the damage. The Division’s staff will guide prospective applicants in the preparation of a letter of request to NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. You can view the complete press release here. (June 2008)

NHPRC: The Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and U.S. Senator Richard G. Lugar announced the award of a $10,000 emergency grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) to the Indiana Commission on Public Records for its Flood Disaster Assessment and Response Project in the aftermath of severe flooding from storms in late May and early June of this year. The emergency NHPRC funds will be used to help provide necessary supplies, services, personnel, and travel to carry out preliminary assessment work.

AMM: The Association of Midwest Museums (AMM) has established a Flood Relief Fund to assist museums in the Midwest affected by the damaging floods. AMM will coordinate with the American Association of Museums and other national organizations to publicize this initiative and help raise funds. For further information on the AMM Flood Relief Fund, see www.midwestmuseums.org/relief_fund.html.

Other Resources:

Heritage Preservation: State Contact Information, Flooding in the Midwest, Coping with Water Damage Video

National Trust for Historic Preservation

At the Federal Level

U.S. Enviornmental Protection Agency
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Department of Education
FEMA 2008 Federal Disaster Declarations
FEMA guidelines on collection eligibility for disaster assistance


At the State and Local Levels

State Environmental Protection Agency

Purdue University's Disaster and Emergency Management Resources

Information and Referral Database for Health and Human Services (by county, or dial 211)
Chart of various contributing organizations (pdf)
Resources for muesums
State historical society resource page
Iowa State University's resource page

Southeastern Libraries Cooperating/Southeast Library System (SELCO-SELS)



Wisconsin Emergency Management
Department of Health Services
Flood Awareness Packet


Last Updated 10/28/10