Extreme weather events and community resilience

Published on: 3 September 2014

How can we better protect people from extreme weather catastrophes? Professor Katrina Brown of the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute is addressing this urgent question.

Half a billion people live in river deltas – land formed by sediment deposited at rivermouths - across the world and are at risk from extreme weather and the consequences of climate change. Professor Brown’s research is looking at how those communities can become more resilient to these consequences, such as flooding and damage to infrastructure.

She spoke to residents of New Orleans, who were affected by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Professor Brown saw how people pulled together during and after the crisis to help each other and ultimately try to change the factors making them vulnerable to severe storms and other similar events.

Many different factors affect resilience, including issues such as poverty, crime and ill health. But government and other agencies also have key roles in building resilience, and it is especially critical that these agencies work in support of, rather than against, the efforts of local communities.

This particular project - You, me and our resilience: Cross cultural insights on resilience, poverty and climate change - is supported by the AXA Research Fund, which was created to enhance progress in areas that enable us to better guard against risks. The project began in April 2014 and will run through to December 2016.

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