Hurricane Dorian hit the northern Bahamas in September 2019 as a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds up to 185 mph, gusts over 200 mph, prolonged rains, and 20-foot surge. The aftermath of this storm event continues to unfold across geographic scales involving local, national, regional, and international social networks. By examining the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, while networks of response are still being created and reformulated, it is possible to begin identifying and characterizing the emergence of a coastal storm society that is able to respond to the increasingly pervasive threat of recurrent major storms. This reformulated society that is taking shape as a result of Dorian has the potential to reformulate vital networks within persistent and chronic conditions of uncertainty, thereby increasing community resilience. Findings will be disseminated to aid organizations involved in disaster recovery efforts. Reports will offer practitioners and researchers of humanitarian aid/ disaster response a model for a more robust assessment tools that leverages local resilience. The research also builds scientific research capacity through international collaboration, broadens the participation of underrepresented groups in the sciences, and trains undergraduate and graduate students in methods of rigorous, scientific data collection and analysis.
This RAPID award supports the collection of critical but ephemeral data on the new forms of social dissolution and cohesion formulated across local and regional scales in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian. In exploring issues of security, governance,and belonging, the project asks what new forms of social cohesion and infrastructure are emerging, how and to what they are adapting, and what events, processes and technologies enable or frustrate these networks. Methods include on-site participant observation and targeted semi-structured interviews (n=300) with displaced residents and rescue organizations. Data will be compared with over 20 years of previously collected research on social relations in the region, which will provide a baseline in understanding shifting and emergent social forms and socio-infrastructures.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.