Newswise — "Although citizens might sometimes make mistakes, they also enable the greatest of responses," says disaster researcher Tricia Wachtendorf.

Wachtendorf and colleague James Kendra, both of the University of Delaware, have been closely watching the efforts of the "Cajun Navy," ordinary citizens using their own boats to rescue those stranded by Louisiana's flood waters.

"The 'Cajun Navy' yet again reminds us that the success of our formal responses often depends upon latent capacities already present in our communities," they say. "There is value in the improvised citizen responses to disaster."

Wachtendorf and Kendra direct the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware, studied the boat evacuation of Lower Manhattan on 9/11 and recently published a book on the topic titled "American Dunkirk."

They can speak about the maritime community's rescue ethos, the importance of creativity and flexibility in disaster response, and the many ways disaster victims form emergent efforts in the response efforts.

Profiles of Wachtendorf and Kendra are available on the University of Delaware's Experts at UD website.

The University of Delaware has on-campus production facilities to accomodate both remote television and radio interviews.