NOAA EPP/MSI CESSRST Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing graduate scholars, Wendy Prudencio and Gwen Alexandre together with their mentor Dr. Fernando tormos-Aponte delivered a talk on July 26, 2023, at the CSL Lab as part of the NOAA Science Seminar Series. The presentation was titled, ‘The Drivers and Consequences of Social Vulnerability to Disasters.’
The Social Vulnerability and Resilience Lab (SOLVER) Research Lab is dedicated to advancing our understanding of social vulnerability, resilience, and preparedness in the face of disasters. SOLVER lab research adopts an interdisciplinary approach, drawing from fields such as anthropology, atmospheric science, sociology, political science, and critical geography. By doing so, the SOLVER Lab aims to contribute to and enrich these diverse fields while also developing innovative disaster recovery policies. The primary goal of these policies is to address the inequalities in disaster response and mitigate the potentially fatal consequences that arise from such disparities. The research highlights several key drivers and consequences of social vulnerability to disasters. Lab members will provide insight into the factors influencing the provision and restoration of electricity in the wake of disasters, with a particular emphasis on the case of Puerto Rico after hurricane María. Wendy Prudencio will focus on the factors that influence post-disaster population displacement, including unequal access to flood insurance. This research sheds light on how the availability and accessibility of insurance coverage impact the movement of people during and after disasters. Gwendolyn Alexandre explores the concept of compounding hazards, where multiple threats or hazards overlap or occur in succession, exacerbating the vulnerabilities of affected communities. By examining these compounding hazards, the research deepens our understanding of the complex dynamics that contribute to social vulnerability during and after disasters. Overall, the work conducted by the SOLVER Research Lab seeks to provide critical insights into the complexities of social vulnerability and resilience. By pushing the boundaries of existing knowledge and proposing alternative approaches to disaster resource allocation, the lab aims to reduce inequalities in disaster response and minimize the devastating consequences that marginalized communities often face.
About the Speaker(s)
Fernando Tormos-Aponte is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Pittsburgh. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Purdue University and a BA from the Universidad de Puerto Rico-Río Piedras. Dr. Tormos-Aponte specializes in social movements, environmental and racial justice, intersectional solidarity, identity politics, social policy, and transnational politics. Dr. Tormos-Aponte’s research investigates civil society claims about the unevenness of government disaster response across communities. His work in this area examines the causes and consequences of government neglect of socially vulnerable communities during disaster recoveries.
Wendy Prudencio is a NOAA EPP/MSI Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Scholar at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Wendy is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy specializing in Emergency Management. Wendy obtained her M.S. in Emergency Health Services, specializing in Emergency Management. Her research interests include the effects of natural disasters on coastal areas, at-risk communities, and policy implementation during response and recovery.
Gwendolyn Alexandre is a Ph.D. student in the Public Policy program with a specialization in Emergency Medical Services. She is interested in intersectionality-based mixed methods policy analysis to explore health and socio-economical inequalities in disaster and natural hazards research. Gwendolyn is a UMBC Social Vulnerability and Resilience Lab (SOLVER) graduate research assistant, supporting research that advances policies that reduce disaster-related inequalities. She is also an NOAA EPP/MSI Earth System Sciences and Remote Sensing Scholar.
About the EPP/MSI Program: The EPP/MSI is an education and workforce training program whose goal is to provide financial support for the education, training, professional development, and graduation of students pursuing postsecondary degrees in NOAA mission STEM, policy and natural resources management disciplines. The EPP/MSI program has 3 components, an Undergraduate Scholarship Program, four Cooperative Science Centers and the Graduate Fellowship Program.