Promoting equity in disaster recovery and hazard mitigation through leadership

Authors: Olivia Vila*, North Carolina State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Environmental Justice
Keywords: hazard mitigation, disaster recovery, qualitative research, disaster, leadership, policy, governance, environmental justice, equity
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 9
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Distributional injustices in the way people experience and recover from disasters have been widely documented. Currently however, there is limited knowledge about ways to promote equitable disaster recovery and mitigation across diverse communities. The concept of recognition, may be a useful frame for exploring factors that can contribute to equity in this context. Recognition is the idea that group difference in the distribution of environmental ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ is acknowledged, and has been empirically linked procedural and distributional equity in various non-disaster contexts. This dissertation will explore the role of recognition in disaster recovery and hazard mitigation, as well as the role of leadership in prompting recognition. Referencing three distinct studies, this presentation will focus on how leadership can facilitate recognition of marginalized communities, and how that recognition may be associated with the opportunities those communities have to recover from disasters and mitigate against future hazards. These three studies include (1) a national survey of State Hazard Mitigation Officers exploring the state’s role in helping low capacity communities implement FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance grants (2) semi-structured interviews with community recovery organizations and officials about their engagement with the Latinx community in Wilmington, NC after Hurricane Florence and (3) an assessment of a public participation protocol’s ability to contribute to an empowerment agenda in Robeson County, NC, a politically, economically, and socially marginalized county, by nurturing leadership and fostering recognition of diverse recovery and resilience needs.

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