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Addressing Emergency Preparedness Inequality at an Individual Scale: A Case Study of Hurricane Harvey

Authors: Erica Massey*, University of Illinois
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Inequality, Climate Change, Hazards, Risks, Hurricanes, Natural Disasters, Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management, Adaptive Capacity, Houston, Hurricane Harvey, Environmental Justice, Social Inequality
Session Type: Guided Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This poster describes the preliminary results of a project seeking to understand human adaptation at an individual scale in the face of ultra-destructive hurricanes. These conclusions will allow organizations and governing bodies and individuals to better prepare for these events in the future and help reduce inequalities in preparedness and vulnerability to damage. The project illuminates these ideas by answering the following questions, 1) How do individuals alter their emergency preparedness after living through an ultra-destructive hurricane? and 2) What inequalities exist in terms of these alterations across demographic groups within the same geographic region? To answer these questions, the case study uses a mixed methods approach based on survey responses from Hurricane Harvey survivors living in Houston. The data collected allows for an analysis on types of emergency preparedness actions taken or not taken by individuals who fit into a larger demographic category an why those actions were or were not taken. The theoretical frameworks used are natural hazard and risk vulnerability, adaptive capacity, and practice theory. Broader implications of this research include advancement in understanding climate change adaptation and has implications for further exploration of inequality as a factor in adaptation. This research also serves to broaden the understanding of marginalized groups of people, the reasons for their marginalization and the effect it has on them. It can also serve as potential basis for policy change regarding emergency preparedness for vulnerable populations.

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