Presentation Title

Targeting the Roots of Disaster: Community Work Dismantling Vulnerability in Mariana, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Time

11:20 AM

Location

Williams Family Room

Abstract

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September of 2017, it left destruction in its wake and unveiled the on-going state of catastrophe that Puerto Rico had been stuck in for years. In Mariana, a rural neighborhood situated in the mountains surrounding the coastal city of Humacao, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the Island’s eastern coast and the eye of the storm moved through the valley adjacent to Mariana. In the wake of the devastation, a community-based organization, the Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo, Mariana (the Mutual Support Project or PAM), emerged as a response to the ineffective relief and recovery efforts managed by the United States government. PAM based its neighborhood recovery efforts on principles of mutual aid, education, and empowerment to address the immediate needs of the residents while also envisioning a stronger future for Mariana. During the summer of 2018, I spent two months living in Mariana and conducting ethnographic research that explored how PAM’s recovery and revitalization initiatives are designed to both combat the root sources of vulnerability experienced by Mariana residents and establish sources of sovereignty within the community. This paper develops the empirical and conceptual value of framing such post-disaster community work as dismantling vulnerability rather than “recovery” or “resilience”.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Meghan Cope

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Geography

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

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Targeting the Roots of Disaster: Community Work Dismantling Vulnerability in Mariana, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September of 2017, it left destruction in its wake and unveiled the on-going state of catastrophe that Puerto Rico had been stuck in for years. In Mariana, a rural neighborhood situated in the mountains surrounding the coastal city of Humacao, Hurricane Maria made landfall on the Island’s eastern coast and the eye of the storm moved through the valley adjacent to Mariana. In the wake of the devastation, a community-based organization, the Proyecto de Apoyo Mutuo, Mariana (the Mutual Support Project or PAM), emerged as a response to the ineffective relief and recovery efforts managed by the United States government. PAM based its neighborhood recovery efforts on principles of mutual aid, education, and empowerment to address the immediate needs of the residents while also envisioning a stronger future for Mariana. During the summer of 2018, I spent two months living in Mariana and conducting ethnographic research that explored how PAM’s recovery and revitalization initiatives are designed to both combat the root sources of vulnerability experienced by Mariana residents and establish sources of sovereignty within the community. This paper develops the empirical and conceptual value of framing such post-disaster community work as dismantling vulnerability rather than “recovery” or “resilience”.