There is a big difference between disaster safety and resilience.

Safety is defined as “the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury; free from harm”.

Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness”.

Most disaster deaths are non-white, elderly, children, women, poor, or disabled. Are we really asking our most vulnerable and under-served in society to be “tough”?

Or, should it be our responsibility as a society to ensure that they are “free from harm”?

Leave your comments below or check out Why You Can’t Rely on Rescue


  • helen miller says:

    “We” as family, neighbors, friends and advocates need to support each other by making a plan and including those close to us (whether geographically or not) who are vulnerable in our plans and education. Over half of those just killed in the wake of Hurricane Laura died from carbon monoxide poisoning not from wind or water damage or injury.

  • Vince Davis says:

    It’s no secret that so-called disaster preparedness was designed for white, middle-class families. Telling a single mom with two kids and a minimum wage job to store some extra food and cash in a plastic tote until the disaster comes is as ludicrous as it sounds. People below poverty, with disabilities, and other underserved populations are collateral damage to disasters. Resiliency is meant for those people who have something to lose besides their life. A disaster kit is to keep people from being inconvenienced too much.

  • Felix Alexandre Sanfo says:

    “Resilience” is precisely a polysemous concept … The concept most used in humanitarian action and disaster risk management, that is to say the one that appears through documents and reference frameworks at the level global (Hyōgo Framework for Action, Sendai Framework for Action, etc.) relates to the “ability to cope and to recover”. Therefore, one could say that the notion of “resilience” encompasses that of “security”, which enables vulnerable groups to cope with dangers and risks, while also providing them (and subsequently) the capacities to raise.
    The resilience of vulnerable groups must be built in a community way since the people concerned are already in a situation of exposure which limits their resources and which pushes them to adopt risky behaviors which, in turn, will increase their vulnerability. A well-thought-out external intervention is therefore needed to help them break the vicious circle in which they are drawn …

    • Mark Keim says:

      Well said! I agree with the notional concept of resilience as applied to analysis of an aggregate systems. Unfortunately, the concept does not offer a sound alternative when applied to the health of individuals.

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