Current estimates reveal that approximately 1.2 billion people reside in areas susceptible to flooding. However, due to human-inflicted changes to the environment, it is predicted that within the next 30 years, this number will increase by at least 400 million. Despite the prevailing belief that the effects of flooding are diminutive, catastrophic destruction is possible, especially when victims belong to vulnerable populations. Aside from physical damage, severe flooding often prevents individuals from securing the bare necessities- water, food, shelter, and medical attention- leading to health crises and social segregation. Following Hurricane Sandy, these adverse effects devastated communities on the East Coast, namely those in New York City and Long Island. To mitigate complications during recuperation, researchers proposed updating strategies and policies to take into account factors such as social capital and economic vulnerability. Doing so may ensure that all communities have equal access to ample resources and services, regardless of demographic composition. Therefore, this study investigated the role of community support, as opposed to socioeconomic status, in the vulnerability and resiliency of New York residents to flooding from Hurricane Sandy. Those who are more engaged in politics tend to be more vigilant about the efforts of their local government. If local politicians are unjustly favoring a certain demographic and neglecting the needs of others, people who pay attention to politics are able to identify the problem and understand how it can be rectified. Furthermore, people who pay attention to the workings of their government are more inclined to address social issues. For vulnerable families, this is relevant because an unsupportive, inept government is frequently the root of problems including forced evacuation/homelessness, poverty, inaccessible resources, etc. If political attentiveness could be quantified, policymakers and community organizations would be able to ascertain which populations are less educated about flooding preparation/reconstruction and which populations can assist the former.
Keywords: Flooding, social segregation, flooding preparation/reconstruction, Hurricane Sandy, devastated communities, in New York City and Long Island.
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