Withstanding a Hurricane: Lessons in Resilience

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In July 2005, Daniel Aldrich and his wife had just moved to New Orleans with their two young children. They bought a new house, a new car, and Daniel had secured his first teaching job as a professor. But six weeks later, that all changed. The Aldriches got caught off guard by Hurricane Katrina. Daniel and his family found themselves fleeing New Orleans for Houston, Texas. All of their new possessions were lost.
The experience inspired Daniel, a political science professor, to study how communities respond to natural disasters. This has taken him on a journey around the world, researching resilience in India and Japan.

Daniel learned that social networks — the strength of communities — was the most important variable in resilience in the face of catastrophe: even more important than education or wealth.

Daniel Aldrich is associate professor of political science at Purdue University and author of "Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery."