The theoretical answer is that there is a need to create networks and to open communications channels for people and organisations to expose their explicit needs, solutions and capabilities and the values they seek or can provide.
We need to start with networks. Such networks can be people on the ground, and organisations and institutions. Some institutions and organisations will be in vicinity and others can be remote. In PR planning terms let's just start with models such as Social Frames and a list of these networks.
We then need to identify which channels for communication are available and working among networks. The channels are face to face contact, television (and we know from studies done by Delahaye's research into the channels for communication in Tsunami disaster last Christmas that TV leads the media agenda), radio, newspapers, cell phones, sms services, email, telephones, web sites, blogs, Usenet, mail and lets not forget the messenger who travels on foot. As the channels progressively return to normal, they need to be used according to their reach.
Next is to work on what explicit things we can make available to the networks through the channels and an explanation about what we mean. This is offering tokens and values to people in the networks in order that they can interact and respond in where the tokens and values are of their interest. In the first place this might mean a simple explanation of what is available to networks through the channels and how they can respond and progressively the needs will emerge and will change the way the networks and channels can interact.
It may be that such a process will help people find their loved ones, and outside help can be directed to where there is need.
The process should mature and into people, institutions public services and companies offering services, capability, products not to mention cultural revival from and to the affected areas as part of the economic recovery of the area.
Fortunately I am not GWB, but if I was, I would want to set up a number of Relationship Value Model operations not least to allow business people in the affected areas to offer their services to the more fortunate of us who are outside and who can adopt a policy of facilitating recovery and providing information to help in the process, for trade and business in the socially and economically disrupted region.
The better the networks and channels for communication, the faster and more effective the recovery will be. For this network, the blogging community, the practical actions can be simple such as a blog to allow people who have businesses in New Orleans and the surrounding area.
To come back on topic, I have tried in a small way to show how in practical terms the Relationship Value Model is applicable in restoring and creating value for the citizens we all feel for in the hard hit Southern States. The Model, in the words of my icon of The South, Sachmo.. “I see friends shaking hands.......They're really saying, I love you.”