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J Urban Health. 2013 Oct;90(5):799-809.

Lessons from Hurricane Sandy: a community response in Brooklyn, New York.

Abstract

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events have increased in recent decades; one example is Hurricane Sandy. If the frequency and severity continue or increase, adaptation and mitigation efforts are needed to protect vulnerable populations and improve daily life under changed weather conditions. This field report examines the devastation due to Hurricane Sandy experienced in Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York, a neighborhood consisting of geographically isolated low-lying commercial and residential units, with a concentration of low-income housing, and disproportionate rates of poverty and poor health outcomes largely experienced by Black and Latino residents. Multiple sources of data were reviewed, including street canvasses, governmental reports, community flyers, and meeting transcripts, as well as firsthand observations by a local nonprofit Red Hook Initiative (RHI) and community members, and social media accounts of the effects of Sandy and the response to daily needs. These data are considered within existing theory, evidence, and practice on protecting public health during extreme weather events. Firsthand observations show that a community-based organization in Red Hook, RHI, was at the center of the response to disaster relief, despite the lack of staff training in response to events such as Hurricane Sandy. Review of these data underscores that adaptation and response to climate change and likely resultant extreme weather is a dynamic process requiring an official coordinated governmental response along with on-the-ground volunteer community responders.

PMID:
24022182
PMCID:
PMC3795193
DOI:
10.1007/s11524-013-9832-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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