Hurricane Wilma, utility disruption, and household wellbeing
Hurricanes with drenching rains and gusty winds bring down power lines and other critical infrastructures, and grind a region's economy to a halt. Consequently, the disruption of public utility services (e.g., water supply, electricity and telephone) and the suspension of local economic activities (e.g., transportation and local businesses) result in significant losses for households' wellbeing. On the other hand, hurricane preparation, for example mitigation measures targeted to reduce wind related damages (e.g., shutters, hurricane resistant windows and doors) and alternative resources for dealing with emergency situations (e.g., electric generator and hurricane supplies) could help reduce the post-disaster impacts. Based on data collected through a household survey right after Hurricane Wilma (2005), we have analyzed the survey responses using ordered logistic estimation approach and have found the evidence of effectiveness of household-level hurricane preparations. We have found that interruptions in electricity and water supply are the major drivers behind the reported losses of households' wellbeing. Results also show evidence of the benefit of hurricane shutters and generators in reducing the adverse impacts of Hurricane Wilma in South Florida. Our findings imply that significant investment in rapid restoration of public utility services following a natural disaster is instrumental in South Florida and beyond.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Chatterjee, & Mozumder, P. (2015). Hurricane Wilma, utility disruption, and household wellbeing. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 14, 395–402. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2015.09.005