Friendships, community ties will aid those in hurricane path

August 29, 2012  

Hurricane Recovery Expert

Daniel P. Aldrich, associate professor of political science

Aldrich can discuss how people behave and rely on each other after natural disasters such as hurricanes. He has found that people who have stronger individual friendships, community connections and civic involvement are more likely to have access to resources and information during and after a disaster. Aldrich is author of the new book "Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery," which includes a study of the recovery of various neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina.

"The lesson learned from Hurricane Katrina is to stockpile friends, because people who survive and then return to rebuild their community after a disaster are more likely to do so because of their relationships and personal connections," Aldrich says.

Aldrich also has studied disaster recovery and community rebuilding following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami in Tamil Nadu, the 1923 earthquake in Tokyo and the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan. Aldrich, who was a professor at Tulane University when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, credits a neighbor with encouraging his family to evacuate as the storm approached. He continues to work with colleagues at Louisiana State University to study disaster recovery after the hurricane, as well as after the April 2010 oil spill. Aldrich and his colleagues are observing high rates of depression, domestic violence and divorce as they interview area residents since the Gulf spill.

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