For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Dimension 3: Adaptive capacity
Here, again, we would like to tell a story about Hurricane Sandy. In October, 2013, Hurricane Sandy, the largest hurricane by diameter in U.S. history, caused about 80 deaths in the U.S. and over 65 billion dollars in damage.
The damage to coastal states like New Jersey and New York was huge, and the recovery was not fast. The challenge for vulnerable populations, such as elderly, people with disabilities, and immigrants, was especially huge. A report in VOXXI, a media outlet for Hispanics/Latino communities, written by Susana G. Baumann discussed why Latino groups have a slower recovery pace than other groups. In the report, she wrote that the problems many Latino families faced were "related to understanding that services were available, losing the fear to apply for or engage with FEMA, and going through the application process."
The other reason why Latino populations faced slow recovery was because of language issues. The VOXXI report stated that "the information provided in Spanish was inaccurate and did not correspond to the same information provided in English."
Latino populations and other vulnerable populations received worse impacts and had a slower recovery than the majority white population after Hurricane Sandy. They are considered more vulnerable because of two concepts we introduced in the vulnerability scoping diagram: exposure and sensitivity. They are vulnerable because of where they live – their exposure – and they have higher sensitivities because of their socioeconomic status -- their sensitivity. Is there a way that we can reduce the economic costs and the loss of human lives during natural disasters? And can we make sure most of the people recover soon after the disasters? Those issues are addressed by the third component of vulnerability: adaptive capacity.