Strong community ties and government support for homeowners living in vulnerable areas boost survival rates and aid in recovery in the wake of hurricanes and other large-scale disasters, says Northeastern professor Daniel Aldrich.
Aldrich, whose latest research examines the connection between social ties and the ways people respond to hurricane evacuations, says friends, neighbors, and family can make the difference between life and death during an emergency evacuation.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the fatalities that happen are what we call preventable deaths: people drowning in their own homes, people getting trapped in cars,” he says. “Those are preventable in the sense that if people have neighbors nearby, or friends or caregivers that can help them to get out of harm’s way, [they are more likely to make it out alive]. We know from a lot of research that those people who have stronger connections, stronger ties are more likely to survive the shock of this size.”