After a thorough analysis of social vulnerabilities, the interacting contextual aspects are believably dependent on the coping ability of the vulnerable population. In this context, the identified social vulnerability issue is limited access to drive away cars by low-income seniors in an ongoing hazard, such as a flood. Following disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, this leads to the displacement of thousands of individuals, in areas such as New Orleans.
Though a lot is done immediately after such a disaster, the one notable fact about these occurrences is that most neighborhoods take time to recover. In fact, as people try to acclimatize to the new situations, they are dealing with often compromised daily routines. Apparently, this is construed to mean that disasters have high adverse effects on the affected population, with the low-income elderly individuals being affected the most. Research supports this by suggesting that elderly African Americans living in New Orleans and characterized as low-income individuals are disproportionately affected by these disasters and their aftermath (Adams, Kaufman, Van Hattum, & Moody, 2011).
The major problem with this social vulnerability is that the lack of transportation means to evade an incoming disaster is the one reason why most of them end up dead or struggling with coping after a catastrophe. Increased vulnerability of low-income elderly individuals is illustrative of the fact that there are more elderly deaths than any other segment of an affected area’s population. Nonetheless, though lack of transportation means is the short-term vulnerability of this lot, dealing with the aftermaths of a disaster is more pronounced, for instance, because of heightened stress and developing the feeling that they are aging very fast.
The Historical Context of This Vulnerability
In exploring the idea of low-income old people being subjects of social vulnerability of limited access to evacuating means of transportation, the primary focus is on race, class, and ethnicity. According to Adams, Kaufman, Van Hattum, & Moody (2011), these three elements are crucial in comprehending the limits to post-disaster recovery. This also proves to be crucial because it helps in understanding ways in which morbidity, mortality, and resilience are experienced during an ongoing disaster.
In considering Hurricane Katrina as one of the disasters that largely affected the identified lot, what stands out about this social vulnerability is that this was both a chronic problem and a revealing crisis. An explanation of this occurrence suggests that though New Orleans is ‘post-hurricane,’ the effects of Katrina on the low-income elderly people were unmistakable. A survey on the effects of this disaster among elderly African Americans revealed that for a clear comprehension of the existing catastrophe and its extent of damage, then there is the need to also focus on the socioeconomic status of these individuals, particularly because this also reveals their health status.
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In the past disasters, vulnerability and mortality of low-income aged people in the identified area, New Orleans, was caused by lack of transportation. For example, the greatest mortality rate among these individuals was recorded immediately after the hurricane and other subsequent floods. Statistical evidence suggests that low-income earners above 60 years old accounted for the highest death, with approximately 75% of the bodies retrieved after the catastrophe belonging to them (Adams, Kaufman, Van Hattum, & Moody, 2011).
Arguably the reason behind the high mortality rate among these individuals is attributed to several social vulnerability factors, such as lack of evacuation facilities, high levels of poverty, infirmities that make evacuation difficulty, and isolation. As a result of increased vulnerability, these individuals are faced with the possibility of failed emergency responses. Failed emergency response in a time of evacuation attributes to the fact that few resources are in place to help with the overall process. For example, during such moments, there is the need for transportation means to move the elderly to emergency shelters where they can be taken care of.
Key Community Stakeholders
In relation to the idea that limited evacuation transportation is responsible for the amplified social vulnerability of low-income elderly people, the involved stakeholders should mainly be comprised of evacuation individuals. In explaining this, Zoraster (2010) theorizes that, under the state laws, there is the need to have nursing homes as the safe evacuation points. However, as of the situation in New Orleans, the success rate in the evacuation process was relatively low. The reason for failed evacuation was because most of these nursing homes did not implement an effective evacuation protocol. If such a drawback is to be addressed, nursing home administrators need to be part of the stakeholders vital in this process.
Similarly, in the context of shelters, some of the reported deaths of low-income elderly individuals were because of inadequate facilities for caring. As a result, when the situation in the shelters is critically analyzed, the identified situation is one where most elderly individuals are reported to have severe mental and physical impairments and are also demented. The important stakeholders in making sure that these problems are addressed accordingly are shelter volunteers and medical personnel. The significance of these individuals is entrenched in the idea that they will help with elderly advocacy services that call for community members to offer clothes, food, and other amenities needed by the elderly in times of a disaster. Additionally, since the lack of government infrastructures is also a major contributory factor, pertinent authorities need to be part of this process.
Plan for Next Disaster
In case of another disaster, the social vulnerability of low-income elderly people may be corrected by making sure that all applicable issues are addressed. For instance, according to Rufat, Tate, Burton, & Maroof,’s (2015) exploration of this concept, increased vulnerability is perceivably because of government negligence and evasion by insurance companies. In the months following any storm, most affected individuals were faced with several frustrations from economic and political neglect as well as inefficiency and inadequacy. The primary approach to dealing with this vulnerability should include the provision of federal funds through relevant authorities, such as FEMA and Homeland Security. The importance of this measure is that the funds will be used in conducting an effective rescue mission as well as the rebuilding of badly managed shelters. A more egregious approach to this issue would be to have the government contract businesses that can offer evacuation services, specifically transportation, to the low-income elderly people. There is also the need to have a program set up that finances the rebuilding efforts of low-income elderly victims. This may entail giving these contracts to private organizations, and this will help deal with the problem of unclear mandates and procedures that may be obstructing effective evacuation.
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Training and Methods of Measurement
Despite a disaster, such as a hurricane, affecting the people of New Orleans, the age factor made a difference in how the individuals were affected. Looking back to what could be the long-term effects on this lot, it is irrefutably clear that the main teaching should be to make sure that these individuals have a positive outlook since this is the most effective way to amplify their resilience. The argument is based on the understanding that ill health and anxiety are purportedly contrasted with psychological resilience, then the main focus should be on how to ensure things are sensible. That is, there is a need to differentiate how low-income and age are related to disaster recovery.
The response from this learning is crucial based on the conception that most elderly individuals died because of failed support in the evacuation process. This can, therefore, be addressed by making sure that survival after a disaster extends to include a long view. Successful actions shall be measured by focusing on comparative findings that suggest that the recovery process is effective.