Social Vulnerability and Disasters!


The real history of the last 4 decades of the growth in federal disaster relief is the cultural conflict between the public works mentality that has dominated FEMA and the federal relief agencies and the reality of the division of disaster victims into a two tier group. Those with assets and insurance before the disaster and those without. FEMA is not set up as a social service agency yet disasters frequently cry out for larger efforts by trained social workers and mental health professionals, just as they do with the Disaster Lawyer cadre supported by the ABA. Professor Susan Cutter, Dr. Susan Cutter, PhD has done and continues to do some of the most cutting edge work on social vulnerability. Wondering when FEMA will get the message.

In the meantime NOAA surges ahead demonstrating what real science, engineering and respect for knowledge integrated into policy can mean for FEMA and its disaster cadre. Not truly understanding the NFIP and the cover it has given for disaster outlays increasing in the last several decades, the departure of the NFIP from FEMA upon which I have speculated in the past, will demonstrate to all that FEMA is in the business of promoting not preventing disasters.

In the meantime see this useful graphic:

CSC Adds Social Vulnerability Information to Digital Coast
The NOAA Coastal Services Center (CSC) has added the Social Vulnerability Index (SOVI) to the Digital Coast. SOVI, developed by the University of South Carolina Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, measures the social vulnerability of U.S. counties to environmental hazards and graphically illustrates the geographic variation in social vulnerability among counties. It shows differences in capacity for preparedness and response and areas where resources are most needed to reduce vulnerability. Thanks to funding from South Carolina Sea Grant and CSC, social vulnerability data is available at the census-block level (2000) for all coastal states.

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