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Social inequality, hazards, and disasters

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Abstract

Social science research on disasters began in the early twentieth century with the publication of Samuel Henry Prince's sociology doctoral dissertation on the 1917 Halifax explosion (Prince 1920). However, disaster research did not begin to coalesce as a field until pioneering research was carried out by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Opinion Research Center in the early 1950s, as research teams were sent into the field to collect data on individual, group, and organizational responses to disasters (see Fritz and Marks 1954). The Disaster Research Center, established in 1963 at the Ohio State University and now located at the University of Delaware, continued the practice of conducting "quick-response" studies following major disasters, with an emphasis on organizational and community response. Over subsequent decades, other research centers were established both nationally and internationally. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 generated additional interest in disaster research, as questions were raised concerning a range of topics, including behavioral, psychological, and social-psychological responses to terrorism. Classic sociological research on disasters emphasized the pro-social and adaptive dimensions of disaster-related behavior. Studies consistently documented such patterns as widespread helping behavior among community residents, the emergence of new groups focusing on victim and community needs, increases in social cohesion, the convergence of volunteers and material resources into disaster areas, and the suspension of community conflicts as community residents and public and private-sector organizations put aside their pre-disaster agendas in the interest of overcoming disaster-induced challenges. Disasters were framed in the literature as "consensus" crises and contrasted with "conflict" crises such as riots. Outcomes following disasters include the emergence of "therapeutic communities" that support victims and maintain high community morale. Therapeutic communities help to cushion the negative psychological consequences of disasters, and as a result, negative psycho-social reactions tend to be short-lived following disasters (see Fritz 1961; Barton 1969; Dynes 1970; Stallings and Quarantelli 1985; Drabek 1986). Ongoing research on disasters provides additional support for these earlier empirical findings. At the same time, it has become increasingly evident that earlier consensus-oriented perspectives paid insufficient attention to the diverse ways in which individuals, groups, and communities experience disasters. In contrast with classic studies, newer research has emphasized those diverse experiences. Research has also shown how disaster-related experiences are shaped in important ways by the same dimensions of stratification and inequality that influence people's lives during non-disaster times. Disaster scholarship now recognizes that factors such as wealth and poverty, race and ethnicity, gender and age influence vulnerability to hazards, disaster victimization, and disaster recovery outcomes (Blaikie et al. 1994; Peacock, Morrow, and Gladwin 1997; Bolin and Stanford 1998; Fothergill 1998). As a consequence of these developments, disasters are no longer seen as producing common or typical challenges for at-risk populations. While morale and cohesiveness may undoubtedly be high within some groups within a disaster-stricken community, other groups may be excluded. Postdisaster experiences that are therapeutic for some may be corrosive for others. Some groups may be able to return to their pre-disaster status with relatively difficulty, while others may never fully recover. And to a greater degree than has been recognized before, disasters may become arenas not only for consensus-based social action but also for contentious intergroup interactions. Measures taken to deal with disasters may be welcomed by some groups but denounced by others. Relief programs may benefit some within the population while disadvantaging others Research also shows that groups are differentially vulnerable and also differentially resilient in the face of disasters, depending upon their position in the stratification system. The sections that follow discuss recent advances in the study of the social factors that affect disaster vulnerability and that contribute to resilience in the face of disasters. Using examples from both Hurricane Katrina and other U.S. disasters, these discussions illustrate how large-scale social trends, structural forces, and group characteristics influence preparedness for, responses to, and recovery from disasters. A key point made in these discussions is that while Hurricane Katrina revealed the devastating consequences of social inequality more vividly than any recent U.S. disaster, Katrina has a great deal in common with other disasters the nation has experienced. One implication of these findings is that diverse patterns of vulnerability and resilience must be taken into consideration both in programs that provide disaster aid and in overall planning frameworks for disaster loss reduction. Copyright

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... While society-wide disaster altruism may increase the overall social connectedness in the affected communities and with wider society (e.g. Casagrande, McIlvaine-Newsad & Jones, 2015;Jencson, 2001;Solnit 2009), racial stereotypes and visibility might cause differential social capital capacities among them in disasters (Dyson, 2006;Jerolleman, 2019;Tierney, 2006). Although the media provide the "communication bridge" during disasters to facilitate emergent networks (Perez-Lugo, 2004), negative stereotypes which are created and/or perpetuated by media are a strong predictor of who will be favored by disaster social capital and where such external support is likely to be concentrated (Lee, Yamori & Miyamoto, 2015;Scanlon, 2007). ...
... Furthermore, the emergence and maintenance of disaster social capital are affected to a great extent by the degree, type and quality of the victims' visibility (that is to say by their cultural and symbolic capital). This is evident when more pronounced images of "worthy" victims are created and reported in the media (Tierney, 2006, p.115): pitiful victims are displaced and experience significant hardships caused by uncontrollable disasters (Dyson, 2006;Leong et al., 2007;Lorenz, 2018;Scanlon, 2007;Tierney, 2006). Leong et al. (2007) more specifically explain how, following Hurricane Katrina, the extremely favorable image of the "model" resilient Vietnamese community led by a symbolic leader, ...
... Thus, Father Vien's symbolic capital became shared linking and bridging social capital among the communities through their pre-existing bonding social capital. On the other hand, the stigmatized African American communities in Hurricane Katrina, who were labelled "unworthy/underserving," and were frequently also criminalized, received limited empathy and support from externals; instead, they received further sanctions (e.g., upon their freedom of movement) and were often pathologized as dangerous "looters" (Dyson, 2006;Jerolleman, 2019;Leong et al., 2007;Tierney, 2006 This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. ...
Article
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Social capital discourse occupies an important place in disaster studies. Scholars have adopted various inflections of social capital to explain how those with greater social capital are generally more resilient to disasters and experience speedier recoveries. Disaster scholars have also discovered that people typically display altruistic tendencies in the wake of disasters and develop novel networks of mutual support – known as “communitas” which is also seen to built resilience and boost recovery. In this article, we use the work of Pierre Bourdieu to synthesize these literatures, conceptualizing communitas as “disaster social capital”. We offer a fleshed‐out definition of disaster social capital to distinguish it from regular social capital and discuss the barriers to, and enablers of, its formation. While primarily a conceptual discussion, we hope that it has practical and policy implications for disaster scholars and practitioners interested in inclusive disaster risk reduction as well as full and just recoveries. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
... The poor are less likely to have the income or assets needed to prepare for or recover from a disaster (Morrow 2002). They may potentially lack homeowner's or renter's insurance, thus making property replacement more expensive (Tierney 2006). Unemployed persons may lack health or life insurance (Brodie et al. 2006). ...
... Unemployed persons may lack health or life insurance (Brodie et al. 2006). Those with higher education are more likely to access and heed information related to disaster preparation and recovery (Tierney 2006). ...
... The housing and transportation theme includes housing structure, crowding, and access to vehicles. Housing is tied to personal wealth, and lower-income persons tend to live in poorly constructed homes (Tierney 2006). Mobile homes are not designed to withstand severe weather or flooding, and are frequently located away from interstate highways or public transportation (Flanagan et al. 2011). ...
Article
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In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national agency that conducts and supports public health research and practice. Among the CDC’s many achievements is the development of a social vulnerability index (SVI) to aid planners and emergency responders when identifying vulnerable segments of the population, especially during natural hazard events. The index includes an overall social vulnerability ranking as well as four individual themes: socioeconomic, household composition & disability, ethnicity & language, and housing & transportation. This makes the SVI dataset multivariate, but it is typically viewed via maps that show one theme at a time. This paper explores a suite of cartographic techniques that can represent the SVI beyond the univariate view. Specifically, we recommend three techniques: (1) bivariate mapping to illustrate overall vulnerability and population density, (2) multivariate mapping using cartographic glyphs to disaggregate levels of the four vulnerability themes, and (3) visual analytics using Euler diagrams to depict overlap between the vulnerability themes. The CDC’s SVI, and by extension, vulnerability indices in other countries, can be viewed in a variety of cartographic forms that illustrate the location of vulnerable groups of society. Viewing data from various perspectives can facilitate the understanding and analysis of the growing amount and complexity of data.
... Often, adaptations of the SoVI are adapted to fit a specific area or event, such as disasters or extreme events (e.g., Aksha et al. 2018;Flanagan et al. 2011Flanagan et al. , 2018. Commonly, educational level, social class, physical conditions, ethnicity and income level have been adapted to the SoVI (Chiu et al. 2013;Tierney 2006). In many cases, the SoVI can be used to predict the potential recovery time and process of a given geographical region, such as the disaster-affected area (e.g., Finch et al. 2010). ...
... For instance, education level was believed to be a predictor of the residents' likelihood of evacuation and their disasterrelated knowledge base (Sommerfeldt 2015). Tierney (2006) argued that economic hardship was the main reason limiting people's ability to take actions, and subsequently reducing their evacuation rate. After interviewing residents in the South about reactions to disaster warnings, researchers concluded that unclear warnings, comprehensive obstacles and language comprehension collectively cause some individuals to ignore evacuative advice before hazardous weather hit (Donner et al. 2012). ...
Article
This study sought to measure risk perception and behavior intention of residents in coastal counties in Alabama and Florida in areas affected by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. The aim was to examine individual responses to impending disasters in areas that were recently touched by Hurricane Michael. Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) were employed in an experiment testing how visual cues and media messages surrounding an impending hypothetical hurricane were interpreted by residents, and their reported influence on an individual’s risk perception and decision-making in the situation. An analysis of 567 respondents determined that live video was most likely to motivate respondents to prepare activities for the storms.
... Global wealth per capita trends suggest that higher-income countries will tend to 65 get richer while lower-income countries will be poorer (Kohlhase, 2013). Being poor is one of the 66 most significant factors leading to heightened vulnerability (Tierney, 2006;Julca 2012; Manyena et 67 al., 2011) and so this projected gap in wealth sets the stage for continued disaster response-related 68 urbanization unless a fundamental change takes place in the way aid enters a country. Lower-69 income countries will not be able to realize adequate buildings and infrastructure to adapt to the 70 present rate of urbanization. ...
... But if this trend is unaltered, gaps in wealth will likely grow larger between the 250 lower-income countries in Africa and Latin America and the higher-income countries, like the 251 United States and in Europe (Kohlhase, 2013). Common vulnerabilities associated with the state of 252 being poor include lower quality (less resilient) housing, lack of transportation options, more 253 vulnerability to loss of employment after a disaster, and less ability to navigate post-disaster relief 254 bureaucracies (Tierney, 2006). Whatever the subconstructs of vulnerability include, the overriding 255 factor is poverty (Manyena et al., 2011). ...
Article
Purpose Current centralized humanitarian aid deployment practices may encourage urbanization thereby weakening short- and long-term resiliency of lower-income countries receiving aid. The purpose of this paper is first, to explore these shortcomings within the peer-reviewed literature and, second, propose a starting point for a solution with a decentralized humanitarian aid deployment (DHAD) framework. Design/methodology/approach The authors conducted a focused, qualitative review of available and relevant literature. Findings The literature reviewed demonstrates that current centralized humanitarian aid deployment models lack meaningful engagement of local assets while indicating a plausible connection between these same models and disaster urbanization. Next, the literature shows introducing a new decentralized model could represent a sustainable aid deployment standard for that country’s specific response, recovery, mitigation and planning opportunities and constraints. Research limitations/implications The next step is to develop a working DHAD model for a lower-income country using a multi-layered, GIS analysis that incorporates some or all of the socioeconomic and environmental variables suggested herein. Practical implications The practical potential of the DHAD framework includes establishing the impacted country in the lead role of their own recovery at the moment of deployment, no longer relying on foreign logistics models to sort it out once aid has arrived. Originality/value This paper discusses a topic that much of the literature agrees requires more research while suggesting a new conceptual framework for aid deployment best practices which is also largely absent from the literature.
... For example, age, gender, and house- hold composition. It is used by researchers either directly or in combination with economic factors to accommodate socioeconomic indicators [45]. ...
... Housing is highly related to personal wealth. Hence, houses of vulnerable populations are often poorly constructed or mobile homes that are especially vulnerable to physical hazards [45]. They are usually found in the outer zone of urban areas and, therefore, may not be properly accessible by road networks or public transportation facilities [32]. ...
Article
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In today's world, most cities face physical threats posed by climate change. These threats create environmental hazards, along with urban problems resulting from rapid urbanization and fast growth of cities. Unplanned urbanization causes the formulation of marginalized urban communities. According to a Un-Habitat report (2014), those groups are most vulnerable and most likely to suffer from disasters. The vulnerability of such population is an alarming problem with major social, environmental, and economic consequences. This issue has received significant consideration in climate change and disaster management research. The social vulnerability of communities is attributable to multiple indicators such as high levels of poverty, inequality, and problems relating to unemployment, housing, and access to basic civic amenities like safe drinking water and sanitation. This research aims at analysing the social vulnerability of Alexandria city. It reviews and implements several methods for selecting and aggregating vulnerability indicators. This aggregation process that captures multiple aspects of socio-spatial vulnerability in a single index or a small number of variables can produce thematic maps that act as powerful visual tools to identify those areas most susceptible to suffer from environmental changes. This study follows a structured framework to firstly describe the process of developing a social vulnerability index (SoVI), from 14 variables using two different methods. Secondly, it analyses the spatial patterns of the developed composite SoVI at the neighbourhood “Shyakha” level using ArcMap geographic information systems (GIS). The results demonstrate that the distribution of social vulnerability is not equal along Alexandria city. Most of the city is categorized to have relatively medium vulnerability level, while few areas are regarded as highly vulnerable “hot spots” and other areas are regarded as low vulnerable “cold spots”. Finally, based on the interpretation of the developed index and the deep examination of the characteristics of those vulnerable areas, the study offers guidelines to promote resilient development of most vulnerable areas.
... Often, adaptations of the SoVI are adapted to fit a specific area or event, such as disasters or extreme events (e.g., Aksha et al. 2018;Flanagan et al. 2011Flanagan et al. , 2018. Commonly, educational level, social class, physical conditions, ethnicity and income level have been adapted to the SoVI (Chiu et al. 2013;Tierney 2006). In many cases, the SoVI can be used to predict the potential recovery time and process of a given geographical region, such as the disaster-affected area (e.g., Finch et al. 2010). ...
... For instance, education level was believed to be a predictor of the residents' likelihood of evacuation and their disasterrelated knowledge base (Sommerfeldt 2015). Tierney (2006) argued that economic hardship was the main reason limiting people's ability to take actions, and subsequently reducing their evacuation rate. After interviewing residents in the South about reactions to disaster warnings, researchers concluded that unclear warnings, comprehensive obstacles and language comprehension collectively cause some individuals to ignore evacuative advice before hazardous weather hit (Donner et al. 2012). ...
Article
This study sought to measure risk perception and behavior intention of residents in coastal counties in Alabama and Florida in areas affected by Hurricane Michael in October 2018. The aim was to examine individual responses to impending disasters in areas that were recently touched by Hurricane Michael. Risk Information Seeking and Processing (RISP) model and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) were employed in an experiment testing how visual cues and media messages surrounding an impending hypothetical hurricane were interpreted by residents, and their reported influence on an individual’s risk perception and decision-making in the situation. An analysis of 567 respondents determined that live video was most likely to motivate respondents to prepare activities for the storms.
... These, in turn, exacerbate their vulnerable situations after disasters (Hay and Pascoe, 2019;Smith et al., 2017). Tierney (2006) argues that to understand people's vulnerabilities to disasters, it is paramount to examine the processes through which social inequalities are created and perpetuated in society. Scholars consider that such inequalities stem from patterns and processes of social interaction and organisation (Hemingway and Priestley, 2006;Wisner et al., 2004). ...
... lack of knowledge and skills, or self-stigma) (Ton et al., 2020;Wisner et al., 2004). In the aftermath of disasters, these injustices are likely to be reinforced, and new ones can be created (Lukasiewicz and Baldwin, 2020;Tierney, 2006). ...
Article
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Purpose-The purpose of this article is to examine disaster justice for people with disabilities (PWD). Design/methodology/approach-Drawing on the capability approach, the article explores distributive injustice that PWD face in dealing with disasters. It discusses procedural justice with a focus on the agency of PWD and their participation in decision-making processes concerning disaster risk reduction. Findings-It argues that disaster injustice faced by PWD can be construed as the inequalities of capabilities that they experience in coping with disasters. Furthermore, although social structures play an important role in creating and perpetuating disaster injustice, PWD, as agents of change, have power to transform social structures that, in turn, bring about justice for themselves. Originality/value-The article raises the need for considering the equality of capabilities and human agency in achieving disaster justice for PWD.
... Leong et al.'s (2007) Hurricane Katrina study found that the Vietnamese community, as a highly recognized group, was able to increase its social connectedness (especially vertical connections with the media, Asian-American politicians and wider Asian-American community) and thus receive more forms of disaster relief aid than the highly sitmatized racial minority groups (also Dyson, 2006). Existing stereotypes and media manipulation contribute to the representation of some community members as 'deserving' victims and others as 'undeserving'; hence, the latter struggle for recognition and resources (Jerolleman, 2019;Scanlon, 2007;Tierney, 2006). External support is more likely to focus on those who are more visible and deemed more deserving. ...
... These projects also addressed the unique needs, difficulties and experiences of foreign nationals, especially marriagemigrant women. These women were believed to generally experience the complex disaster vulnerabilities due to the intersection of gender, race, class, migration status, language and other social factors (e.g., Tierney, 2006). The humanitarian efforts to support the recovery in these rural and isolated communities became an important catalyst for not only marriagemigrant women's empowerment but also the empowerment of Tohuku's rural coastline communities, most of which are resourceless, isolated and comprise aging populations. ...
Chapter
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Disasters cause significant damage but also provide opportunities for change. Research shows that disasters provide some socially vulnerable groups with opportunities to organize and mobilize. Disasters can ironically be an opportunity for community empowerment. The case of Asian marriage-migrant women in the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami is not an exception. Some women, who had been invisible and marginalized mainly due to racial and gender oppression in rural Japan, became hypervisible in the media and consequently increased their social capital capacities in the post-disaster period. However, after nine years, the visibility and empowerment of these women seemed temporary and unsustainable. Due to the emergent social capital, some marginalized women became empowered for a short time, but, for the most part, they reverted to where they had been before the disasters – invisible, isolated and powerless. An important question is raised: How can a more sustainable form of empowerment be achieved? This chapter describes the short-lived nature of these women’s post-disaster empowerment and theoretically and empirically explores what enabled and soon challenged that empowerment. If disasters provide a window of opportunity to develop sustainable societies and enable community empowerment, we should also take into consideration the factors that contribute to long-term sustainability of marriage-migrant women’s empowerment.
... Gibbs & Kharouf, 2020) and provided new spaces for work convergence, enabled workforce harmonisation and aided the social capital of lower status and marginalised institutional actors culminating in stronger trust relationships (cf. Tierney, 2006)? ...
... Unlike academics whose professional identity is linked to discipline and scholarly community less than institutional affiliation, PSS arguably possess a stronger institutional attachment as a result of their jobs being more static, less mobile and more directed by management. They are, by comparison, a professional cadre of third space workers, close in character to what Tierney (2006) describes as members of a 'congenial' university that exhibit high managerial deference and limited contribution to governance. We might assume then that PSS, as occupiers of the third space, who pre-pandemic were already outside looking in, would find that their limited influence on institutional governance in a remote-working milieu to have further slipped. ...
Article
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The COVID-19 pandemic has been the source of large-scale disruption to the work practices of university staff, across the UK and globally. This article reports the experiences of n = 4731 professional services staff (PSS) working in UK universities and their experiences of pandemic-related work disruption. It specifically focuses on a transition to remote-working as a consequence of social restrictions and campus closures, presenting both quantitative and qualitative findings that speak to the various spatio-relational impacts of PSS working at distance from university campuses. These survey findings contribute to a new narrative of work organisation in higher education which addresses the potential of remote-working as a means for boundary crossing, social connectedness and trust relationships in universities in the immediate context and strongly anticipated post-pandemic future.
... The stark reality for most community members, however, is one of destruction and deprivation, perhaps while being victimized even further by distrustful state machinery, negligent government contractors, and corrupt city officials (Tierney, Bevc, and Kuligowski, 2006;Klein, 2007;Reed, 2008;Robertson, 2013). Several scholars have called for a semantic switch, framing disaster as not the natural event itself but the spiral of humanitarian crises that unfolds afterward; the poor and underserved sections of the community end up being the most affected, as their employment is disrupted and the public services they rely on are dysfunctional or damaged (Erikson, 1976;Wisner et al., 2004;Tierney, 2006;Perry, 2007). ...
Preprint
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This paper examines foundings of human services organizations after natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, and tsunamis and explains why only some communities bounce back by founding appropriate collective-goods organizations. Using natural disasters in California counties from 1990 to 2010 as shocks that exogenously impose a need for collective goods over and above the level endogenous to the community, this paper shows that a geographic community’s local organizing capacity rests on the richness of its repertoire of voluntary organizing models as reflected in the diversity of its voluntary associations. Such diversity is even more critical when the type of natural disaster is more unexpected or complex (e.g., both a wildfire and an earthquake) in an area, and the organizational challenges posed are thus more novel for the community. Associational diversity has positive effects on both the numbers and aggregate size of foundings of local (non-branch, secular) human services organizations, and the effects are generalizable to other endogenous demand conditions such aspoverty. Results also show how different kinds of variety can have opposing effects onorganizing capacity as observed after a disaster, with associational diversity having a positive effect, political diversity having a negative effect, and racial diversity having no significant effect, net of other factors. The paper concludes with a call for treating community resilience as a matter of enhancing local organizing capacity over centralized planning efforts when the environment is rapidly changing.
... Studies have shown that affordable housing shortages can force households with low incomes to live in more physically vulnerable places or in overcrowded or dangerous conditions (Tierney 2006). During disasters, affordable housing tends to suffer disproportionate damage because of its location in hazardous areas or insufficient investments in hazard mitigation, and restoring affordable housing is often slow and challenging during recovery (Bolin 1985;Bolin and Stanford 1991;Peacock and Girard 1997;Peacock et al. 2007;Zhang and Peacock 2009;Highfield et al. 2014;Sapat and Esnard 2016). ...
Article
Research on affordable housing and disasters in the United States largely focuses on owned and rented housing, the nation's two most common housing tenures. Researchers have largely overlooked mobile home parks (MHPs), a third housing type that is home to 2.7 million households. Mobile home parks are characterized by their private ownership, stigmatization in popular culture and by local governance institutions, and unique tenure arrangement, in which residents own their individual homes but rent the land underneath. Existing studies have narrowly focused on the physical vulnerability of mobile home units and, to a lesser extent, the sociodemographic characteristics of residents. The interactions between MHPs and the environmental, social, and regulatory contexts of disasters remain largely unexplored. To holistically examine the factors that interact to produce disaster risk (exposure and vulnerability) for residents living in MHPs and assess whether parks are uniquely at risk compared to other housing types, an exploratory case study of the 2013 Colorado flood is presented. The central research question here is as follows: What characteristics structured disaster risk for MHP residents before and after the 2013 flood? Six MHPs located in 3 flood-affected communities, drawing on (1) surveys of 101 households whose homes were significantly damaged or destroyed by the 2013 floods, including 44 households living in MHPs; (2) semistructured interviews with 21 key informants who were active in the recovery; (3) observations at dozens of housing recovery-related meetings and events; and (4) analysis of recovery plans and government documents. Five mechanisms of exposure and vulnerability are revealed that together describe how MHPs and their residents were uniquely at risk to the disaster. The findings of this study may be summarized as follows: (1) MHPs were exposed to flooding at a higher rate than housing generally, (2) MHPs spatially concentrated socially vulnerable households, (3) MHPs and their residents were stigmatized by local governance before and after the disaster, (4) post-disaster regulatory exposure was a barrier to recovery, and (5) postdisaster recovery policies and plans disadvantaged MHPs and their residents. The article concludes by describing the importance of MHPs to community resilience and suggesting several avenues for future research.
... Different components in the infrastructure networks can have different impacts on its own network, as well as other interdependent infrastructure and community networks. For example, the outage of a particular electric power substation could adversely impact the entire power grid, the water and telecommunications networks that require electricity, and several populations, such as elderly, disabled, young children, and those without economic means, which could be vulnerable during times of disruption since they are potentially unable to function well on their own and they lack ability to evacuate without substantial assistance (Tierney 2006). As such, it is important to identify the critical components of the infrastructure networks to understand their impacts and to effectively plan for their restoration. ...
Article
Critical infrastructure networks are often described as (i) interdependent in nature for functionality, (ii) vulnerable against multiple natural or artificially caused hazards, and (iii) vital for providing the essential needs and ensuring the operability of societies. Developing a comprehensive plan for infrastructure network resilience is enabled with the identification of the most critical components that have the largest impact on the performance of both their and other networks that are operationally (inter)dependent. Additionally, these critical components have the largest impact on the society in terms of serving its needs so that its recovery can be completed in a timely manner after a disruption. In this work, we propose a component importance measure that quantifies the impact of equitable restoration activities on components of interdependent infrastructure networks. To represent the social expectations, we integrate this component importance measure with multiple social vulnerability measures which define various socio-economic characteristics in a society. Finally, we implement a multi-criteria decision analysis technique to determine the final importance ranking of the components and illustrate our approach with two critical infrastructure networks in Shelby County, TN in the USA.
... Political distrust and social division between white and black populations in New Orleans are deeply rooted, and they significantly shaped the response to the early post-Katrina planning processes (Olshansky et al. 2010;Gotham and Greenberg 2014). As in many disasters, the flooding of New Orleans disproportionately harmed African-American and low-income populations in the city due to the heightened physical and social vulnerability of some areas (Tierney 2006). ...
Chapter
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The map that would become known as the “green dot map” was published by the New Orleans Times-Picayune on January 11, 2006, and quickly came to hold a central place in the canonical account of post-Hurricane Katrina planning in New Orleans. The map and its swift public rejection became emblematic of the overreach of top-down planning in the immediate aftermath of Katrina’s devastation, taking on a sort of mythical power as a singular artifact whose catalytic power was taken for granted. To better understand how this episode shaped post-Katrina planning, this chapter traces the development of the map through early drafts produced by three different sets of actors. Through critical cartography-informed visual analysis of the maps themselves and their “para-map” materials, the chapter assesses how visual representations and spatial classifications shifted with each subsequent interpretation. The textual and visual framing of the proposal as put forward in the Times-Picayune’s final map reinforced preexisting suspicions that post-Katrina planning would be insufficiently equitable and politically illegitimate. Through interviews with planners, designers, and decision-makers, the chapter considers how the green dot map and its reception have shaped water planning in New Orleans in the years since. The chapter highlights the critical importance of representational politics in an era when visual representations are increasingly central to climate change adaptation and other arenas of urban planning.
... Sociological research on disasters has long documented how less-privileged residents often suffer losses in economic as well as social and cultural resources after hazards hit, while more-privileged residents, by contrast, tend to recover more quickly and may even benefit financially (Brunsma, Overfelt, and Picou 2010;Elliott and Pais 2006;Fussell and Harris 2014;Pais and Elliott 2008). Prior research also points out how these inequalities are not simply a function of physical damages incurred but also of how recovery resources are designed and distributed in ways that ripple forth unequally throughout affected areas (Dahlhamer 1994;Dash, Peacock, and Morrow 1997;Gotham and Greenberg 2014;Tierney 2005). ...
Article
This study investigates a largely ignored contributor to wealth inequality in the United States: damages from natural hazards, which are expected to increase substantially in coming years. Instead of targeting a specific large-scale disaster and assessing how different subpopulations recover, we begin with a nationally representative sample of respondents from the restricted, geocoded Panel Study of Income Dynamics. We follow them through time (1999-2013) as hazard damages of varying scales accrue in the counties where they live. This design synthesizes the longitudinal, population-centered approach common in stratification research with a broad hazard-centered focus that extends beyond disasters to integrate ongoing environmental dynamics more centrally into the production of social inequality. Results indicate that as local hazard damages increase, so does wealth inequality, especially along lines of race, education, and homeownership. At any given level of local damage, the more aid an area receives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the more this inequality grows. These findings suggest that two defining social problems of our day - wealth inequality and rising natural hazard damages - are dynamically linked, requiring new lines of research and policy making in the future. © 2018 The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. All rights reserved.
... Floods can also instigate water quality issues, such as contamination, which may result in health impacts to populations affected by the disaster. Social issues related to disasters including gender-based violence, mental health issues, unemployment, alcoholism and loss of educational facilities have also been documented (e.g., Tierney, 2006;World Bank, 2011;Deloitte Access Economics, 2016). Broader or more diffuse but potentially serious cascading socioeconomic impacts may also occur. ...
Article
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Cascading hazard processes refer to a primary trigger such as heavy rainfall, seismic activity, or snow melt, followed by a chain or web of consequences that can cause subsequent hazards influenced by a complex array of preconditions and vulnerabilities. These interact in multiple ways and can have tremendous impacts on populations proximate to or downstream of these initial triggers. High Mountain Asia (HMA) is extremely vulnerable to cascading hazard processes given the tectonic, geomorphologic, and climatic setting of the region, particularly as it relates to glacial lakes. Given the limitations of in situ surveys in steep and often inaccessible terrain, remote sensing data are a valuable resource for better understanding and quantifying these processes. The present work provides a survey of cascading hazard processes impacting HMA and how these can be characterized using remote sensing sources. We discuss how remote sensing products can be used to address these process chains, citing several examples of cascading hazard scenarios across HMA. This work also provides a perspective on the current gaps and challenges, community needs, and view forward toward improved characterization of evolving hazards and risk across HMA.
... These social impacts are often the result of multiple factors (e.g., interaction of preexisting vulnerabilities with the stress associated with experiencing the disaster), making it difficult to isolate the disaster-specific impacts above and beyond preexisting and changing community-wide conditions. There is an evolving evidence base that documents the human impacts of disaster (e.g., declining mental health, increasing substance abuse, and worsening chronic conditions) (Cutter et al., 2008;Hobfoll, 1991;Kwok et al., 2017;McFarlane & Williams, 2012;Norris et al., 2002;Tierney, 2006). However, the specific link between disaster-related failures in infrastructure systems and resulting social challenges is less well studied. ...
Article
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Plain Language Summary Interdependent physical and social systems offer enormous benefits for daily life because they produce and distribute essential goods and services that are necessary for health, safety, and economic well‐being. For instance, the power grid is required for effective functioning of information systems and cell phones, which underpin effective functioning of hospitals, water and sewer systems, traffic lights, and home appliances. In return, communications and information technology is required for effective functioning of the power grid, especially to meet the concurrent demands for reliable energy supply, protection, and automation. In this paper, we describe how failure in interdependent systems can be catastrophic and lead to death and prolonged human suffering. We examine difficulties in linking failures in interdependent systems to measurable social impacts including: limited availability of data and models, disciplinary silos that might stand in the way of different stakeholders, practitioners, and experts working together on this inherently cross‐disciplinary problem, and diversity in infrastructure systems, disruptive events, and communities. We suggest that awareness of the vulnerabilities in interdependent infrastructure systems needs to be coupled with coordinated action and collaboration among government agencies, communities, and industries.
... 43 Rung et al., 2017. 44 Tierney, 2006. 45 Fiore, Bond, and Nataraj, 2017. ...
Book
The 2010 Deepwater Horizon (DWH) oil spill was the largest in U.S. history, releasing an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The scale of the disaster motivated diverse stakeholders to examine the human dimensions of the spill and how communities' resilience to similar threats could be improved. This examination is needed because, as long as humans depend on extracting oil and gas for energy, coastal regions are at risk for spills. In this report, the authors explore how communities, government officials, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and scientists can build community resilience to large oil spills. Researchers found mixed evidence of distress associated with the DWH disaster and a variety of factors that affected the nature and severity of people's experiences.
... In addition to size, the industry sector of the business has also been reported as a factor in continuance by several researchers [3,38,[45][46][47][48][49]. Legal form of ownership is also a characteristic that predicts operating/non-operating groups [3,5]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The rate of small business demise is exacerbated by exogenous events such as natural disasters that threaten even the healthiest business. This study focused on the effects of management strategies used by small business owners affected by a natural disaster and the resulting recovery status eight years after Hurricane Katrina. The results indicate that location, human resource, and financial management decisions affect operating status and recovery. Both pre-and post-disaster strategies and across system exchanges were utilized and predicted survival and recovery, e.g., financial managerial strategies utilized post disaster predicted whether a business would fully recover, but effective overall management strategies differed over time and operating category.
... Low-income people have barely access to communication technologies, and they may not be able to be prepared well in emergency situations (Ruiz et al., 2018). Illiterate people do not have adequate knowledge about hazards, and they may not be able to get ready and prepared in emergency situations quickly (Tierney, 2006). Finally, minorities (i.e., people with different religions, national origins, races, and colors) are more vulnerable to accidents as they might be exposed to social and economic discrimination (Payne-Sturges and Gee, 2006). ...
Article
Full-text available
People who live in densely populated regions could be at risk of mishaps that occur during hazardous materials (hazmat) transportation. Population vulnerability assessment is an essential parameter for developing risk mitigation strategies to prevent negative consequences of hazmat transportation incidents. In this study, a procedure is developed to estimate the risk of hazmat railway incidents, focused on two parts. First, the most probable and the most dangerous meteorological variables (e.g., stability class, wind speed, solar radiation, etc.) are processed to simulate threat zones and prepare hazard maps using the ALOHA software. Second, sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., age, sex, education, household, income, employment, etc.) of the affected population are used to create vulnerability maps along with their weights. As risk is a function of hazard and vulnerability, risk maps are generated by superimposing the hazard and vulnerability maps using ArcGIS software. This procedure is tested in a city in Canada and confirms the significance of integrating population vulnerability in risk assessment by revealing that the areas with high hazards indicated on the hazard maps are not necessarily considered as the areas with high risk indicated on the risk maps. The risk maps generated in this study can be used to provide recommendations to improve land-use planning, enhance the safety of the people, living in higher-risk areas, and prioritize emergency response decisions. The procedure developed in this study can also be applied to different types of railway incidents and other potential incidents in the transportation industry when all the necessary information is available, such as regional meteorological conditions and the characteristics of the affected population.
... Disasters are not the "inevitable outcome of a hazards' impact" 1 but occur when proximity to natural hazards coincides with preexisting social vulnerabilities. 2,3 This interaction occurs frequently in a number of areas located along the US Gulf Coast, where high-risk, hazard-susceptible areas have high proportions of socially vulnerable residents. 4 In US Gulf Coast counties, higher social vulnerability has been positively associated with the amount of disaster damage, measured in total dollars per capita. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Socially vulnerable residents of US Gulf Coast counties have higher exposure to physical hazards and disaster-associated risks. Evacuation is one way to mitigate the consequences of disaster exposure among socially vulnerable populations. However, it is unknown whether existing evacuation shelter capacity and locations in designated hurricane evacuation zones of Texas are adequate to accommodate persons with housing and transportation needs. This study estimated the evacuation shelter deficit arising from demand from socially vulnerable residents of the Houston-Galveston area. Methods: Spatial statistical methods including Global Moran's I and Getis-Ord (Gi*) were used to measure spatial autocorrelation and identify census tracts in the study area with high (hot spots) and low (cold spots) social vulnerability in both housing and transportation domains. The shelter deficit in each county within the study area was estimated as well as for the entire Houston-Galveston Metropolitan Statistical Area. Results: Designated evacuation zones in the Houston-Galveston area have an overall shelter deficit of 163 317 persons. Shelters in the area can only accommodate 36% of evacuees with significant housing and transportation needs, while 3 of 4 counties had county-specific evacuation shelter deficits. The highest deficits were in Harris County, where Houston is located, and the lowest were in Matagorda County, a rural county southwest of Harris County. Conclusion: Emergency managers and other authorities should consider data related to demand from socially vulnerable residents for public shelters during disasters and increase shelter capacity in certain locations to address evacuation shelter shortage for vulnerable persons in designated evacuation zones of Texas.
... The interdisciplinary, vulnerability science approach to natural disasters draws connections between extant social disparities and individual characteristics influencing risk of exposure and ability to recover from a natural event (Cutter and Emrich 2006;Finch et al. 2010;Blaikie et al. 2014). The vulnerability perspective maintains that the nature and severity of disaster impacts are a function of features of the hazard event, including its magnitude and its form (e.g., earthquake or hurricane), along with the characteristics of communities and groups experiencing exposure to a hazard (Blaikie et al. 2014;Cutter et al. 2003;Tierney 2006). By locating their impacts in Bsocial conditions more than nature,^the vulnerability approach Bdenaturalizes^disasters (Adams et al. 2011:1;Klinenberg 1999). ...
Article
Full-text available
Research conducted among socially vulnerable populations caught in the paths of natural disasters represents the forefront of our understanding the health-related impacts of climate change. In this study, we analyze individual-level longitudinal data from the Nicaragua Living Standards and Measurement Survey (N = 3474) in order to ascertain the influence of disaster displacement arising from the Hurricane Mitch event upon two communicable disease outcomes: diarrheal disease and respiratory disease. First, multinomial logistic regression analyses demonstrate that individuals from households headed by women, as well as from households with low levels of consumption expenditures, experienced greater odds of displacement to shelters in the aftermath of Mitch. Second, two-way fixed-effects regression analysis demonstrates that shelter displacement acts as independent risk increasing the odds of respiratory disease, net of socioeconomic and demographic covariates. Our findings draw attention to the confluence of far-reaching entrenched social and economic disparities that create linked disaster displacement and communicable disease vulnerabilities.
... Stallings (2002) revisited Moore's original findings and suggested that greater attention can be paid to the social inequalities that produced recovery trajectories. My analysis adopts a similar emphasis on inequality (also see Tierney 2006) and applies it specifically to demographic change. Importantly, since the Moore (1958) study, disaster aid policies in the United States have changed considerably. ...
Article
Natural hazards and disasters distress populations and inflict damage on the built environment, but existing studies yielded mixed results regarding their lasting demographic implications. I leverage variation across three decades of block group exposure to an exogenous and acute natural hazard—severe tornadoes—to focus conceptually on social vulnerability and to empirically assess local net demographic change. Using matching techniques and a difference-in-difference estimator, I find that severe tornadoes result in no net change in local population size but lead to compositional changes, whereby affected neighborhoods become more White and socioeconomically advantaged. Moderation models show that the effects are exacerbated for wealthier communities and that a federal disaster declaration does not mitigate the effects. I interpret the empirical findings as evidence of a displacement process by which economically disadvantaged residents are forcibly mobile, and economically advantaged and White locals rebuild rather than relocate. To make sense of demographic change after natural hazards, I advance an unequal replacement of social vulnerability framework that considers hazard attributes, geographic scale, and impacted local context. I conclude that the natural environment is consequential for the sociospatial organization of communities and that a disaster declaration has little impact on mitigating this driver of neighborhood inequality.
... As described earlier, this book benefits from the knowledge base created by mental health sciences and epidemiology, and combines it with knowledge from other research disciplines. Under the umbrella of vulnerability science, multiple disciplines have begun to systematically analyse the factors that help make different social units, such as families and communities, avoid and withstand disaster impacts and make them capable of rapidly recovering from whatever events they experience (Tierney 2005). It is common to combine disciplines in disaster research in general ( Rodriguez et al. 2007), in disaster mental health research ( ), and in the study of crisis leadership ( Boin et al. 2016). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
What makes individuals, communities, and societies resilient or vulnerable to a disaster from a mental health perspective? How should the causes and consequences of resilience and vulnerability be addressed? These questions delineate the scope of this book. The first part of the book describes patterns in exposure to adversity, mental health, cultural and socioeconomic characteristics, and professional psychosocial service capacity across country contexts. In the second part a more normative approach is followed, focusing on psychosocial support guidelines and their application by public leaders and service providers. The psychosocial support theme and its implications are explored through a quality improvement and crisis management lens. In the third part the findings are discussed in relation to each other. Together, the studies constitute an integrative perspective on the research themes, the associations between them and determinants at different levels. The model presented in the final chapter can be used to guide future research, guideline development and emergency preparedness. Although there are several routes to address the mental health impact of disasters, local tailoring remains imperative. Country comparisons reveal differences in exposure, culture, vulnerability factors, professional psychosocial service capacity and mental health. In other words, the risks, needs and problems of people affected by trauma, loss, and other aspects of exposure, the capacity to deal with adversity, and psychosocial norms and practices all vary across geographies. Despite consensus on principles, measures and interventions to promote post-disaster mental health, their practical merits in different community and country settings need to be studied more extensively.
... The antecedents of the status quo in social vulnerability modeling were derived from social indicators research, and a strong focus exists on developing composite indicators to measure and communicate the social vulnerability of populations (Tate 2012). Such composite indicators typically include the aggregation individual proxy indicators such as age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, and special needs (e.g., homeless, transients, physically or mentally challenged) (Enarson and Morrow 1998;Peacock and Girrard 1997;Tierney 2006;Tierney et al. 2001;Burton 2010). Also incorporated into social vulnerability measurement frameworks are metrics aimed at evaluating access to education, governance, institutional capacities, and access to healthcare (Cutter et al. 2003;Carreño et al. 2012;Burton and Silva 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
While many approaches for assessing earthquake risk exist within the literature and practice, it is the dynamic interrelationships between earthquake hazard, physical risk, and the social conditions of populations that are the focal point for disaster risk reduction. Here, the measurement of vulnerability to earthquakes (i.e., characteristics that create the potential for harm or loss) has become a major focus area. However, metrics aimed at measuring vulnerability to earthquakes suffer from several key limitations. For instance, hazard and community context are often ignored, and attempts to validate metrics are largely non-existent. The purpose of this paper is to produce composite indices of the vulnerability of countries to earthquakes within three topical areas: social vulnerability, economic vulnerability, and recovery potential. To improve upon the status quo in indicators development for measuring vulnerability to seismic events, our starting point was to: (1) define a set of indicators that are context specific to earthquakes as defined by the literature; (2) delineate indicators within categorical areas of vulnerability that are easy to understand and could be put into practical use by DRR practitioners; and (3) propose indicators that are validated using historical earthquake impacts. When mapped, the geographic variations in the differential susceptibility of populations and economies to the adverse effects of damaging earthquake impacts become evident, as does differential ability of countries to recover from them. Drivers of this geographic variation include average country debt, the type and density of infrastructure, poverty, governance, and educational attainment, to name just a few.
... Decades of research have documented the relationship between social inequities and disaster vulnerability. In reviewing the factors that contribute to vulnerability and resilience in disasters, Tierney (2006) stressed the importance of recognizing "disaster vulnerability as a function of both physical place and social conditions" that increase the likelihood of harm and ability to cope (p. 111). ...
Article
From a global pandemic to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, and others in the Black community, the year 2020 has cast light on long-standing social injustices. With this has come a critical social movement and a call for change—specifically, a call for transformative solutions that address not only new challenges but also centuries of systemic issues, such as systemic oppression and systemic racism. Leadership across the globe has scrambled to answer the call, some issuing statements committed to change, others engaging in necessary action. What is critical, however, is that leadership understands the cultural factors that have given rise to centuries of oppressive practices, and that leaders are held accountable for the commitments they have expressed. Leadership must promote, create, and maintain prosocial, inclusive, and healthy work environments. This requires new cultural practices and a focused organizational model. Equally important is the need to resolve ambiguity and communicate effectively, with strategic consideration of constituent perspectives and needs. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to discuss the contribution of behavior analysis to addressing systemic oppression, as well as the pivotal role leadership communication plays in occasioning social change. It is our hope that this conceptual work will inspire behavior scientists to advance the field of behavior analysis and social movements in the direction of equitable, prosocial change that dismantles systemic oppression.
... While communitas speaks to notions of people power and equality, it is clear that some people might be more powerfuland hence more "equal"than others. This is important as material inequality is one of the biggest drivers of vulnerability (Bolin, 2007;Tierney, 2006). Indeed, disasters do not permanently eradicate the obdurate features of social structure. ...
Article
Full-text available
Disaster scholars have long complained that their field is theory light: they are much better at doing and saying than analyzing. The paucity of theory doubtless reflects an understandable focus on case studies and practical solutions. Yet this works against big picture thinking. Consequently, both our comprehension of social suffering and our ability to mitigate it are fragmented. Communitas is exemplary here. This refers to the improvisational acts of mutual help, collective feeling and utopian desires that emerge in the wake of disasters. It has been observed for as long as there has been a sociology of disasters. Within the field, there have been numerous efforts to name and describe it. Yet there has been far less enthusiasm to theorize it, which means that the disaster literature has not adequately explained the social conditions under which communitas arises (or fails to). In this article, we synthesize numerous case studies to do so. This takes us beyond simple statements of what communitas is and what it should be called, to considerations of the conditions under which it emerges, how it should be conceptualized, the factors that might prevent communitas, and how we might encourage it. While primarily a theoretical work, the identification of communitas’ facilitators and barriers have practical import for disaster risk reduction (DRR) policy as communitas has frequently proven to be a positive and potent force.
... Since resilience is a shared capacity within a system, building resilience does not privilege one element over another. The process of building resilience reflects and supports social equality (Tierney, 2006). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Disaster resilience is an ongoing learning process for individuals, families, communities, and society in general to prepare for, respond to, adapt to, and recover from disaster events. This capacity requires a synthesis of multiple elements, including natural, built, social, cultural, economic, and political environments. Architects are on the front line to facilitate postdisaster reconstruction of human settlement, overseeing the quality of structural and infrastructural systems to better support the various social and humanitarian recovery efforts. From the architectural perspective of disaster research and practice, this chapter examines various aspects of building resilience in human settlement. Using the post-Wenchuan earthquake reconstruction initiative in China as an example, this chapter illustrates how the lack of balance among different societal factors (such as social, economic, and cultural) in built environment reconstruction directly damages other aspects of recovery, which significantly delays the capacity-building process of resilience.
... Low-income people have barely access to communication technologies, and they may not be able to be prepared well in emergency situations (Ruiz et al., 2018). Illiterate people do not have adequate knowledge about hazards, and they may not be able to get ready and prepared in emergency situations quickly (Tierney, 2006). Finally, minorities (i.e., people with different religions, national origins, races, and colors) are more vulnerable to accidents as they might be exposed to social and economic discrimination (Payne-Sturges and Gee, 2006). ...
Conference Paper
Transportation of hazardous materials can cause severe damage to people in densely populated areas. The potential consequences of hazardous material release on people can be identified by risk assessment techniques. In this study, the meteorological conditions were evaluated to define the most dangerous meteorological condition. The ALOHA software is used to model the toxic threat zone and create a hazard map of the incident's location. Then, the local social vulnerability indicators are identified, and the ArcGIS software is used to create a vulnerability map. The risk map is created using the hazard map and the vulnerability map. This methodology is tested at a location in a small city in Canada and the risk map confirmed the importance of integrating population vulnerability in risk assessment. The results of the risk map can help risk managers to optimize their emergency response decisions in the case of hazardous materials release and to plan for proper actions to improve the quality of life for people living in higher-risk areas.
... Households with decreased vulnerability are larger; at least 6 people live in the home, and there are 2 or 3 married couples (Table 2). Larger households have decreased vulnerability because they have an established social network and social capital; this network of support can help increase a household's ability to recover from a disaster (Moser 1998;Tierney 2006). Access to assets is higher in the study cities than in surrounding areas, but household size is mixed in cities. ...
Article
Uttarakhand, India, is a dynamic region. It is frequently exposed to natural hazards and is experiencing rapid urbanization. However, the interaction of the increase in people, the built environment, and vulnerability to natural hazards is poorly understood. We model the relationship between urbanization and hazards for 3 cities (Almora, Nainital, and Champawat) and their surrounding subdistricts in the region using a social vulnerability framework. We apply the framework by using principal component analysis to identify socioeconomic vulnerability indicators and built-environment vulnerability indicators. The results show that higher access to assets reduces vulnerability and that larger households are less vulnerable. We also find that the presence of a bathroom and higher-quality building materials are associated with reduced vulnerability. Bathroom presence is more frequent in cities than in surrounding areas, and the quality of building materials was mixed within cities. Access to assets is higher in the cities than in surrounding areas, but households are smaller in cities. These indicators of vulnerability help to close the knowledge gap and identify who is vulnerable and where they live. This analysis continues to expand the conversation about vulnerability to disasters related to natural hazards in mountain regions.
... Social-dependent populations were found to be more vulnerable, as people who are dependent on income support and social services due to unemployment or because they have physical or mental disabilities will require additional support in the event of wildfire (Cutter et al., 2003). We found that areas with larger households on average were associated with lower vulnerability, a finding potentially explained by the presence of stronger social networks, which can increase a household's ability to face and recover from a disaster (Grainger et al., 2021;Tierney, 2006). In addition, in rural areas, one-person households could involve the elderly living alone, who are considered physically and socially vulnerable to wildfires because they face health and economic issues and assistance needs (Hung et al., 2016;Sung & Liaw, 2020). ...
Article
Full-text available
Wildfires have greater impacts on socially vulnerable communities. Identifying these vulnerable communities and enhance understanding of what influences their susceptibility to wildfires can guide the design of spatially targeted strategies in preparedness, mitigation plans, and adaptation strategies. Moreover, special attention should be given to those locations with high wildfire risk and higher social vulnerability. This paper investigates the heterogeneous spatial coincidence of social vulnerability with wildfire risk in Galicia (Spain) at the municipal level. Results show that socioeconomic status, social dependent population, and household unit characteristics are the dimensions that contribute the most to social vulnerability. In general, municipalities with the highest proportion of their area under the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) have low social vulnerability. In fact, locations with high social vulnerability and high fire risk are spatially concentrated in the south and are low-density populated communities, often in remote locations and with elderly population. We also mapped few exceptions where we detected high WUI presence in hotspot areas. Our findings can serve local authorities as a basis for wildfire planning that accounts for the spatial distribution of the most vulnerable communities and for the development of programs that tackle the determinants of the socially vulnerability inequalities across the territory.
... Such events as Hurricane Katrina demonstrate how structural inequity and lack of socioeconomic resources constrain important "choices" about preparing for or responding to a disaster and might result in disproportionate losses. For instance, choosing to evacuate was not possible for some New Orleans residents because of lack of economic means, limited access to transport, or inability to function without substantial assistance (Barnshaw and Trainor, 2007;Tierney, 2006). Black Americans were the majority of the small group who did not evacuate (Fussell, 2015). ...
... With reduced access to financial resources, people are often unable to evacuate during an event or adequately recover afterwards. Household expenses often represent a larger portion of a low-income individual's total assets and for this reason, it is proportionately more expensive to replace or repair after a flood (Flanagan et al., 2011;Tierney, 2006). Families with a higher income level have greater safety nets and are able to withstand losses that may occur due to a flood. ...
Chapter
Environmental factors affect recovery at both the individual and community level after a catastrophic disaster. In this chapter, we present an innovative index of community wellbeing based on analyses of archival data at the census tract level to quantify the human impact of the 2016 flooding for residents of three parishes (counties) in south Louisiana. An ecological systems perspective drawn from the disaster research literature is reviewed briefly to provide a context for addressing the psychosocial consequences of environmental flooding and property loss. We describe the core elements of the index of community wellbeing: community stress, economic health, environmental health (built and natural environments), and public health and safety. Implications of these data for policy strategies to lessen behavioral health challenges and mitigate adversity after disaster are discussed.
Article
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This study examines the implications of the coronavirus pandemic for college students' health and education, with special attention to variation by disability status. Disaster research supports the hypothesis that students with disabilities will experience higher-than-usual levels of pandemic-related stress, which could lead to re-evaluations of their educational expectations and declines in health. We evaluate this hypothesis by modeling changes in students’ (1) mental and physical health and (2) educational expectations during the first year (spring of 2020 to spring of 2021) of the pandemic, using survey data collected from a population-based sample of college students in the state of Indiana. Although we observe across-the-board declines in both domains, students with disabilities were especially vulnerable. Mediation analyses suggest that differential exposure to financial and illness-related stressors is partially to blame, explaining a significant portion of the group differences between students with and without disabilities. We interpret these results as evidence of the unique vulnerabilities associated with disability status and its wide-ranging importance as a dimension of social stratification.
Article
Smallholder farmers often face multiple risks and engage in a variety of strategies to manage for those risks. Understanding and addressing the impacts of hazards and other stressors on development necessitates a holistic vision and assessment of vulnerability that is attentive to the many ways that communities respond, cope, and adapt to threats. Yet, few risk assessments provide the space to simultaneously assess multiple hazards and the ways that people respond to them. Our research combines participatory risk and vulnerability mapping with other methods of assessment and the explicit inclusion of ongoing local practices for risk reduction through land management practices. Our results emphasize the importance of using a grounded process in eliciting knowledge from communities in order to explore and interpret their own risk profiles and priorities. We argue that the use of multiple modes of assessment and knowledge can open up space for new understandings of hazards and opportunities for management, that the process of participatory mapping provides a benefit beyond the map it produces, and that land management is both an important and underrepresented strategy for risk reduction in the multi-hazard context. Our work takes a critical look at the opportunities available through the participatory mapping methodology, and also highlights some of the limitations of this approach due to social and physical context. Through a participatory method of risk and vulnerability mapping, this research demonstrates how a grounded and open-ended approach can engage farmers, leveraging local knowledge to inform disaster risk reduction (DRR) and adaptation strategies at local scales.
Article
To date, there has been limited research conducted on disaster aid allocation across multiple regions and disasters within the United States. In addition, there is a paucity of research specifically connecting social indicators of vulnerability to public assistance grants aimed at restoring, rebuilding, and mitigating against future damages in disasters. Given these gaps, this article inquires as to whether the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) public assistance program is characterized by procedural inequities, or disparate outcomes for counties with more socially vulnerable populations. Specifically, this article analyzes county-level FEMA’s Public Assistance distribution following major disaster declarations, while controlling for damages sustained, population, household counts, and FEMA Region. Results indicate that FEMA’s Public Assistance program operates well when accounting only for disaster losses across the years, however, findings also show that county social conditions influence funding receipt. Although socioeconomic characteristics were significant drivers of assistance spending, additional vulnerability indicators related to county demographic and built environment characteristics were also important drivers of receipt. Cases of both procedural inequity and equity are highlighted, and implications for equitable disaster recovery are discussed along with recommendations.
Article
Using qualitative interviews, this research explores the experiences of residential nursing home caregivers in Fukushima, who provided support to elderly sufferers of Alzheimer’s or other related forms of dementia during the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. Although the disaster vulnerability of care recipients such as the elderly, infirmed, disabled, and sufferers of dementia have been studied, their caregivers’ disaster experiences, vulnerability and resilience have remained comparatively invisible and under-investigated. Their experiences suggest that coping with the disasters as caregivers was complex and unexpected, and it should not be misunderstood to imply that their resilience is predictable and expected.
Thesis
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The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in the wake of the September 11th 2001 terrorist events. DHS’s formation, the largest reorganization of a governmental agency in over 50 years, brought a new emphasis on the protection of the nation, its citizens and its infrastructure to government emergency management policy. Previously, the locus of emergency management had lain with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which had strongly emphasized natural disaster response. The rise of FEMA and DHS were only the latest iterations in a long history of policy shifts in this space driven by the perceived threats and prevailing political dynamics of the day. Arguably, the complex and intertwined nature of contemporary hazards calls for a dual emphasis in the homeland security and emergency management (HSEM) enterprise; that is, awareness and capabilities that span both fields. As applied disciplines, scholarship in homeland security and emergency management has always had strong links to the evolving practice of the HSEM enterprise. In addition to providing research to guide practice, baccalaureate programs in both homeland security and emergency management have emerged to address the operational and educational capabilities required by practitioners. In the post-9/11 environment, the increasingly complex demands placed upon our homeland security and emergency management enterprise require a better-integrated education. This study serves to demonstrate consensus regarding the significance of an integrated curricula in homeland security and emergency management meeting the needs of the workforce.
Article
People experiencing homelessness are vulnerable to extreme weather in unique ways. The entrenched inequalities that underpin disaster vulnerability are compounded by extreme isolation and the stress of transient living on mental and physical health. However, the impacts of extreme weather on the homeless in Australia are largely undocumented and rarely incorporated in emergency planning. Interviews with and surveys of emergency and homeless services and service users revealed that the primary ramifications of losing shelter and worsening mental health deepen the cycle of homelessness and trauma. Consequently, homeless shelter losses, such as tents, should be included in pre‐ and post‐event impact statistics and subsequent recovery support. Extreme weather response plans should include early triggers and strategies for ‘non‐severe’ weather events, as the homeless community is affected earlier and by a wider range of meteorological conditions. Moreover, this study also explores the benefits of a trauma‐informed response to extreme weather when working with the homeless.
Book
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Disasters and History offers the first comprehensive historical overview of hazards and disasters. Drawing on a range of case studies, including the Black Death, the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 and the Fukushima disaster, the authors examine how societies dealt with shocks and hazards and their potentially disastrous outcomes. They reveal the ways in which the consequences and outcomes of these disasters varied widely not only between societies but also within the same societies according to social groups, ethnicity and gender. They also demonstrate how studying past disasters, including earthquakes, droughts, floods and epidemics, can provide a lens through which to understand the social, economic and political functioning of past societies and reveal features of a society which may otherwise remain hidden from view.
Article
With its transparent and fast claims payment, parametric insurance has been widely used to insure nature-related risks such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes. In 2014, earthquake parametric insurance was introduced to provide coverage for earthquake losses occurred in Yunnan Province of China. However, as a main limitation of parametric insurance, basis risk is inevitable. In this paper, a Bayesian spatial quantile regression model is proposed to reduce the basis risk of earthquake parametric insurance. The effect of earthquake hazard, risk exposure, and vulnerability on economic loss are analyzed and considered in the quantile regression model. Since risk exposure and vulnerability at the epicenter cannot be observed, they will be treated as latent variables in the quantile regression model. Bayesian approaches are applied, and spatial correlation is considered to construct the prior distributions for the latent variables. Earthquake losses in Yunnan Province from 1992 to 2019 are collected and analyzed by the proposed model and methods. The payment mechanism and the corresponding premiums of 16 regions in Yunnan Province are then calculated. The results show that the loss ratio is more reasonable than the current earthquake insurance, and the basis risk is then reduced.
Article
It is commonly accepted that evacuating disaster areas prior to the impact of an event is in everyone's best interest. As such, many studies have investigated what factors influence both evacuation behavior and return migration. However, few studies have specifically looked at the direct influence that the decision to evacuate may have on individuals' disaster recovery. Through the analysis of a representative sample of individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey living in Texas, this preliminary case study observes that evacuation negatively affected the extent to which people were able to recover in the short-term. This observation was not respective of race/ethnicity nor level of poverty. Additionally, being Hispanic had a positive relationship with the extent to which an individual recovered in the short-term. Future research recommendations are made in an effort to better understand these observations that may have profound implications on whether or not people choose to evacuate in future disasters.
Article
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The cyclone vulnerability of women is much higher than men due to their poverty, social norms and marginal position in the social structure. Reducing women’s vulnerability is, therefore, imperative to improve the situation. However, the present practices of vulnerability assessment have several limitations. As an alternative, this study proposed and tested a weighted framework to assess the vulnerability in a quantitative form. The proposed framework considers 18 indicators carefully adapted from vulnerability literature. The indicator statuses were defined based on their vulnerability potentials and assigned an integer value. The higher the status value the greater the vulnerability potentials. The indicator’s status values were standardized, and their weights were estimated. The vulnerability scores for every indicator thereafter estimated by multiplying its status value by its weight. Finally, an individual’s vulnerability score was calculated by taking the average vulnerability scores of all the indicators. The framework was tested on 140 randomly selected cyclone-affected women from ten coastal villages of Bangladesh. The proposed scores-based vulnerability expresses the vulnerability status with an integer value easier to understand and allows spatial comparability. This framework could be improved further preferably through stakeholder consultations about the appropriateness of the indicators, indicator statuses, and their weights. An improved and well-agreed framework would assist in integrative policy formulation to reduce women’s vulnerability to cyclone disaster. Moreover, this approach could be adopted in vulnerability ranking/mapping for other disasters.
Article
Recovery from wildfire is often cast as the rebuilding of homes by the displaced. This focus ignores the diversity of livelihoods and access to resources among people living in the wildland-urban interface. The 2018 Camp Fire in Butte County, northern California, invites the rethinking of vulnerability and wildfire. Almost an entire town of 27,000 was destroyed, as well as long-established surrounding rural communities. The extent of devastation and displacement has revealed the shortcoming of a perspective of victimhood that focuses on property ownership. We challenge this bias that equates community with property ownership with three sources of data that, although limited, allow for a more granular view of the diversity of displacement and the ongoing vulnerability that exists in the shadows of the rebuild.
Article
A fundamental concern in the social science scholarship on disasters is understanding community impacts and recovery as a social process. This study examines community sentiment in the aftermath 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill (DHOS), including the influence of time and the explanatory utility of two major theoretical perspectives—the systemic community model and the corrosive community model—in predicting community sentiment in the context of this disaster. Specifically, our objectives are to assess how community sentiment in the wake of the DHOS: 1) changes over time; 2) is related to the systemic model; and 3) is related to the corrosive model. To meet these objectives, we analyze four waves of data from a unique repeated cross-sectional household survey data—the Louisiana Community Oil Spill Survey (COSS)—collected between 2010 and 2013. Our results demonstrate that 1) accounting for other factors, community sentiment community sentiment was significantly greater in later time periods compared to 2010, and 2) the simultaneous and complimentary utility of the systemic and corrosive community frameworks for understanding community sentiment in the wake of the DHOS.
Article
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As climate change focuses more frequent and intense disasters on vulnerable communities across the globe, mitigation and response resources need to be allocated more efficiently and equitably. Vulnerability assessments require time, skill, and cost money. In the United States (US), these assessments are mandated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to qualify for federal funding. However, new trends in the literature clearly question their practical value. This study begins with a focused literature review which demonstrates that popular social vulnerability indices that create a single vulnerability score can diminish the significance of a lone variable, overlook the relevancy of all interconnected variables, and can result in contradictory policy recommendations. Next, existing case studies that used popular vulnerability assessment frameworks were compared to maps generated of the same study area that employed the single variable of poverty. These case study comparisons demonstrated how considering this greatest common variable among different vulnerable groups can often - quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively - reveal close to the same county and sub-county level community vulnerabilities detailed in costly assessments. Finally, a national survey of emergency managers was conducted to determine how much current social vulnerability indices were actually governing the ongoing distribution of resources to the communities being served. Results indicate that, while these indicator models may be underused nationally, those who do find them effective tend to be from higher income areas. This study questions the practical value of these indices for emergency management practice in the US and for meeting the goals of the Sendai Framework and other compacts.
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