Podcast: Resiliency in the Face of Adversity: Hurricane Ian and Other Natural Disasters

Location Cubed

Key Points:

  • Building back after a natural disaster is a healing process
  • Building codes should consider preparing for stronger hurricanes
  • The long-term economic impacts of Hurricane Ian are unknown

 

Weaver’s Rob Nowak and Howard Altshuler put aside the comedy this week to talk about serious matters: the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian and other natural disasters.

A natural disaster, like Hurricane Ian, devastates the surrounding community, infrastructure and real estate due to the damage caused. Still, time and time again, resiliency brings these devastated communities back together.

“Think about other natural events,” Altshuler says. “Probably our most traditional risk management and aversion people would say, maybe we shouldn’t rebuild. But that never seems to happen. People want to stay there, and I get that.” Nowak notes that the U.S. has a storied history of building back stronger after such disasters.

According to Nowak, humans are competitors who refuse to let situations get the best of them. “You can always point to natural disasters or events that have occurred that do not stand in the way of progress. We always rebuild.”

When a disaster strikes, so do opportunities. The opportunity exists not only to rebuild lost homes but replace old infrastructure with newer and better ones. Altshuler says now is the time to learn from the results of Ian and create long-lasting buildings and infrastructure in a proactive manner that leaves the U.S. better prepared for the future. Finding the balance between making things resilient and practical will make the new path safe and cost-beneficial.

Resiliency is more than how a community responds to a natural event; it’s how it prepares for an event that hasn’t occurred. Prevention is critical, and Altshuler notes several regions in the U.S. are taking measures to prevent the next disaster. “For example, what’s known as the Ike Dyke, just recently got approved by congress. They’re going to build a dyke across the front of Galveston Bay. Hurricane Ike, fifteen years ago, came up through Galveston Bay and caused a lot of damage. Building the Ike Dyke will help in the future, but it will cost thirty-four billion dollars to build it.” The cost-benefit may not prove out in terms of the money it took to prevent the disaster, but it may reduce the rippling economic effects of such a disaster.

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