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Public Lecture by Daniel Aldrich
February 18 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
How to Survive and Thrive in Disaster: Lessons from Japan
The 11 March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and associated tsunami and nuclear meltdowns took nearly 20,000 lives, created half a million refugees, and affected energy policies as far away as Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. In Japan, mortality rates in coastal communities in the Tohoku region were not constant; instead, they varied widely from town to town. During the recovery period, some towns have rebuilt damaged infrastructure, reopened schools, and repopulated downtowns. Others have not been at successful. What explains the variation in mortality during the tsunami and recovery after the disaster? Using data gathered from fieldwork, interviews, and surveys, Aldrich looks closely at the role of social capital and networks to provide concrete suggestions for ways to help us survive and thrive in disaster. While many of us envision disaster mitigation in terms of physical infrastructure, the findings instead point to the power of social infrastructure to reduce mortality and accelerate post disaster recovery.