Hazard Resilience in Coastal Communities
Mississippi and Alabama experienced devastating losses due to natural hazard events in 2004 and 2005. Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina caused the loss of more than 1,800 lives and damages that that exceeded $96 billion. In 2005, more than 275,000 housing units were damaged or destroyed in Mississippi and Alabama from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The loses included 90 percent of housing units in Hancock County, 68 percent in Harrison County, 64 percent in Jackson County, 30 percent in Mobile County and 7 percent in Baldwin County.
Coastal communities must balance population and ecological change while adopting resilience strategies for acute events such as hurricanes and oil spills, and chronic events, such as sea-level change. This involves long-term planning to prepare for and quickly recover from hazards. It is also essential that residents of coastal communities understand coastal risks and learn what they can do to reduce their vulnerability and respond quickly and effectively when events occur. Increasing community resilience has direct impact on the coastal residences behavior, health and finances.
Sea Grant will use its integrated research, training and technical assistance capabilities and its presence in coastal communities to play a major role in helping local citizens, decision makers and industries plan for hazardous events and optimize the ability of their communities to respond, rebuild and recover.