July 13, 2018
Last year, America tragically dealt (and is still dealing) with the consequences of several natural disasters. According to complex emergency researcher Morten Wendelbo, there are three main reasons that even as one of the most powerful countries in the world, America is ill-equipped to deal with such disasters.
1. Populations’ Location & Density
Seven of the 10 largest metropolitan areas are on or near the coast. This means that more than 60 million people are susceptible to the dangers of a hurricane or tsunami. Additionally, more than five million Americans call islands like Puerto Rico home. Along with the risky location, the 10 largest coastal cities have grown by almost 5 million people in less than a decade, so the density poses a problem, too.
2. Emergency Funds Access
In a 2015 study by the Federal Reserve, the data showed that almost half of Americans wouldn’t be able to access $400 in an emergency, even with access to ATMs. For minorities, this statistic grows even larger, as blacks and Hispanics are less likely to be able to access funds in an emergency and are more vulnerable to disasters.
3. Supply Chains and Globalization
With or without money, the supply of goods, like medicine and devices, must be readily available in an emergency. Because of globalization, many goods are produced abroad in China and India, for example. Data shows that some hospitals in the U.S. receive supplies three times a day, meaning that if a disaster strikes a foreign country, or access to transportation is closed within the U.S., many people with critical needs would lose their supply of critical goods.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Daniella Soloway