Lessons in Disaster Resilience

Lessons in Disaster Resilience

Explore the intricate challenges of disaster resilience and recovery using Puerto Rico as a case study. From financial crises to hurricanes, political instability, and pandemics, the island faces a myriad of issues. Learn how Puerto Rico’s experiences highlight the importance of community resilience and preparedness, showcasing the role of local efforts in immediate response and long-term recovery. Discover how lessons from past crises, like Hurricane Maria, informed the island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, emphasizing the significance of proactive measures and resiliency. Additionally, delve into innovative solutions such as the nexus approach, integrating water, energy, and food security to ensure sustainable post-crisis recovery. Uncover how these strategies not only sustain life but also foster thriving communities equipped to withstand and rebound from future challenges.

The Center recorded this video during the dialogue program Disaster Management & Recovery: Creating Cooperative Opportunities – part of the Center’s Collective & Human Security series.

Speaker Biography

Fernando I. Rivera is a professor of sociology and director of the Puerto Rico Research Hub at the University of Central Florida. His research interests and activities are in the sociology of health/medical sociology, disasters, and race and ethnicity. Rivera’s published work has investigated how different mechanisms are related to certain health and mental health outcomes with a particular emphasis on Latino populations.  His disaster research has explored the investigation of factors associated with disaster resilience, restoration and resilience in coupled human-natural systems, and climate migration. 

He has co-edited Disaster Resilience: Interdisciplinary Perspective (2012), co-authored Disaster Vulnerability, Hazards, and Resilience: Perspectives from Florida (2015), and edited Emerging Voices in Natural Hazards Research (2019). Rivera was guest editor for a special issue of Population and Environment on Puerto Rico before and after Hurricane Maria and the Journal of Emergency Management titled “Analysis of Pre and Post Disaster Management and Recovery in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.” He earned his MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his BA degree in sociology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez. Rivera also completed a NIMH sponsored post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging Research at Rutgers University.


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