Disaster Management During Covid-19 and Beyond: Key Takeaways From the Building Resilience Conference

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Chad Wolf PPP Conference
The Honorable Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary, Department of Homeland Security shares the importance on collaborating with communities and companies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and build stability throughout the country during the 9th Annual Building Resilience Conference.

Last week the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s Corporate Citizenship Center held its 9th annual Building Resilience Through Private-Public Partnerships Conference, with support from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Northern Command.

Every year, the Building Resilience conference highlights the collaboration required among private, public, and nonprofit sectors to help mitigate the effects of all disasters. This year’s conference came at a critical time as we recover from a global pandemic that has disrupted every aspect of our lives.

Three key themes emerged on building resilience amid Covid-19 and how we can be better prepared for future emergencies through greater collaboration across sectors.

1. The private sector plays a pivotal role in responding to all disasters, with the Covid-19 crisis underscoring the need to incorporate business into every aspect of disaster management. From supply chain management to providing essential services, the innovation and agility that the private sector brings will continue to be critical.


"A lot of solutions and a lot of the ideas to help us get through this are actually in the private sector’s hands,” said Jonathan N. Greene, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

2. Relationships cultivated before the pandemic have proven to be extremely valuable once the disaster hit.

“We needed to leverage every relationship that we had at the local, state, and federal level,” said Laura Lane, President, Global Public Affairs, UPS.

3. All sectors need to come together to address the impacts of this crisis on communities of color, and speakers said increasing representation in disaster planning and management is a top priority.

“We are all out at sea in the same storm, but we’re in very different boats,” said Dr. Jay Butler, Deputy Director for Infectious Diseases, CDC. 

Covid-19 laid bare the many vulnerabilities we face as a society, and the need to build a community that is stronger than the next disaster. The U.S. Chamber Foundation will continue to advance disaster relief and response in communities across the globe — a mission that is even more critical at this moment in time. To learn more about how to join our Disaster Response and Community Resilience program, visit our website

Use this link to watch all of the sessions from the Building Resilience Conference.