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Individual response and recovery: A learning experience from Hurricane María

Verónica Díaz-Pacheco, MS, Frederick González-Román, Clara Isaza, PhD, Thomas Richardson, MS, Robert Whalin, PhD, Mauricio Cabrera-Ríos, PhD


Situations faced in the advent of powerful hurricanes can be stressful for individuals due to the uncertainty they bring along. The consequences of these phenomena can leave individuals’ recovery in their own hands until order is re-established, and support can reach out to them. This work aims to develop a tool to guide individuals through their decision-making during a hurricane disaster and recovery, using the experience of Hurricane María. The tool is a classic inventory model adapted to monitor individual’s wellness through 48 hours after a hurricane arrival. This article presents the three stages followed in the development in this work: the assessment of individuals’ sentiments toward Hurricane María via an online questionnaire, the development of the mathematical model, and the creation of a prototype in the form of a mobile application. Each phase presents an important contribution: a summary of first-hand knowledge obtained from the reactions of individuals who survived Hurricane María, a novel modeling approach to the problem, and a convenient framework that synthesizes both previous components.


individual emergency decision-making, disaster decision-making behavior, inventory model applications, Hurricane María response and recovery

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