Withstanding a Hurricane: Lessons in Resilience

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Nancy Zakhary and Eddie Lima of Brooklyn wade through flood waters filling the intersection of Main St and Plymouth St in Dumbo Brooklyn as Hurricane Irene reaches the New York City Area on August 28, Nancy Zakhary and Eddie Lima of Brooklyn wade through flood waters in Brooklyn on August 28, 2012. (Jemal Countess)

In July 2005, Daniel Aldrich and his wife had just moved to New Orleans with their two young children. They bought a new house, a new car, and Daniel had secured his first teaching job as a professor. But six weeks later, that all changed. The Aldriches got caught off guard by Hurricane Katrina. Daniel and his family found themselves fleeing New Orleans for Houston, Texas. All of their new possessions were lost.
The experience inspired Daniel, a political science professor, to study how communities respond to natural disasters. This has taken him on a journey around the world, researching resilience in India and Japan.

Daniel learned that social networks — the strength of communities — was the most important variable in resilience in the face of catastrophe: even more important than education or wealth.

Daniel Aldrich is associate professor of political science at Purdue University and author of "Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery."


Daniel Aldrich

Comments [2]

Judith Brady from Bronx, NY

I was very touched by this interview and found myself reflecting on it over the weekend.

When faced with minor crises like a flat tire at night far from home the goodness of strangers saved me. I was so grateful that that person stopped and came to my aid. This experience made me realize how important the Good Samaritans are in our lives.

Sep. 04 2012 03:18 PM
Cynthia Thompson from Portland, OR

I'm lucky.

Three years ago after my sister was recovering from her cancer (lypo-sarcoma), chemo and radiation completely leaving her with a huge bald spot on her head...we discovered my older brother was diagnosed with colon cancer. Going home to see my brother we discover my dad had pancreatic cancer. He died about a month later, then my brother died 6 weeks later. (both had the same Doctor and hospital staff). A month later my twin brother let us know his stage 3 melanoma cancer had returned.

I'm lucky. I still have two of the four alive and well. I don't worry that I'm not thin enough anymore. I lucky I'm alive to enjoy each day as it comes.

Aug. 30 2012 01:27 PM

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