Individual emergency response and recovery: What people worried about during and after Hurricane Maria
Keywords:Hurricane Maria, hurricane response
Hurricane Maria was a disastrous weather event that devastated Puerto Rico (PR) in September 2017. Yet, little is known about people’s perceptions of this event. In this investigation, we offer insight about Hurricane Maria’s impact on PR’s inhabitants. More specifically, we study a sample (n = 542 responses) of individuals’ worry levels through four time points during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria: their variation through time, their relationship to decision making, and if and how certain demographic variables may influence them. For these purposes, we designed and implemented the Individual Emergency Response and Recovery Questionnaire, a web-based survey that measured several aspects of the objective and subjective experiences of individuals who underwent Hurricane Maria in PR. Results of a statistical analysis using nonparametric tests show that some of the demographic variables selected as factors of interest influence the worry levels reported by respondents. Most significant results coincide with conclusions drawn by literature: that time, age group, and the level of information influence worry levels. Another key finding is that the worry level may influence individual decision-making frequency. Understanding principal factors in people’s behavior and perceptions during hurricanes is crucial to help us learn how to better prepare for and respond to natural disasters in the future.
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