COMMUNITY RESILIENCE: LESSONS FROM RECENT DISASTERS

Lesley Ewing, Costas E. Synolakis

Abstract


Resilience occurs at many levels, from global and national to family and individual. Community and local government efforts for resilience fit in the middle of this spectrum. Major community elements that are important both for minimizing vulnerability and hasten recovery include transportation, communication, water, energy, emergency services and housing. Coastal areas have some special concerns for vulnerabilities that can arise from coastal hazards such as tsunamis, hurricanes, storms, flooding, and erosion; lessons from recent coastal disasters provide recommendations for improved disaster management and community resilience. Resilience is not a one-time effort that can arise from a single approach; it is an ongoing community process, resulting from a combination of approaches. A Community Resilience Index (CRI) can help communities recognize their resilience strengths and opportunities for improvement. A “bare-bones” Community Resilience Index (CRI) has been developed based upon lessons learned from recent coastal disasters. The utility of the CRI is tested for recent community disasters at Galveston, Texas from Hurricane Ike, at American Samoa from the 2009 Samoan tsunami and at Pacifica, California from the 2009/2010 winter storms. Case studies will help identify additional CRI factors that will expand the focus of the CRI and improve overall community disaster management and coastal resilience.

Keywords


disaster management; hazards; vulnerability; Community Resilience Index

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