Major disasters and public health emergencies constantly test the nation's resolve to rally and recover from tragedy. Public health crises stemming from prolonged threats like the 2009/2010 H1N1 influenza pandemic require sustained preparedness and response over many months. Even shorter-duration events, like tornados, earthquakes, or hurricanes, leave lasting impacts for which full recovery may take years. Telling examples include the displacement of thousands of persons across the Gulf Coast states following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and difficulties obtaining basic housing and services that persisted in the Northeast months after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Whether the result of natural disasters, infectious disease outbreaks, bioterrorism, or other causes, these events can change the societal landscape in affected regions.
Despite the challenges of recovery across populations stemming from national or regional emergencies, Americans have consistently supported those directly affected.