Northeast Wisconsin is basically untested to this point, but a leading expert in the field of disaster resiliency says that Northeast Wisconsin should be able to respond fairly effectively in the case of a disaster.
The expert is UW-Green Bay Business Administration faculty member Lucy Arendt. She said, based on a number of characteristics used to determine if a community can bounce back from disaster — from organized government services, such as emergency response, to infrastructure (hospitals, transportation, etc.), to community competence (conflict resolution, self-organization) to collective efficacy (empowerment and “can do” attitude) — the region is strong.
Arendt gave her presentation as part of UW-Green Bay’s After Thoughts series. The program, designed to connect community women with UW-Green Bay, took place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5, in the Weidner Center foyer.
In her presentation, “In the Face of Disaster, How Resilient is Our Community?” Arendt said the most obvious natural hazard facing the region is flooding.
“The likelihood that we’ll see major flooding in this region in our lifetime is very high,” she says. “We are surrounded by water, and flood plains are very hard to predict… We also know that our highly populated areas are right near our rivers and water outlets. At least some of those homes are populated by many who may not have the means to rebuild. How will we respond?”
Arendt recommends that families and communities plan for the worst. “As a family, what do you need to survive for 72 hours, considering that you may not have immediate additional access to food, water and energy sources, and transportation may be limited,” she says. “Have a plan for communicating with each other.”
“Recovery is complicated,” Arendt said, “and may not be what people would expect. Communities won’t be rebuilt as we remember them. However, what’s important is our resiliency and ability to deal with the changes.”
Two new programs and presenters are scheduled to continue the After Thoughts series in fall 2011: Sept. 20, Kim Nielsen, Democracy and Justice Studies professor and Nov. 1, Susan Frost, associate lecturer, Humanistic Studies.
Event sponsors are the Schneider National Foundation and Billie Kress. Co-sponsors and organizers of the event are UW-Green Bay’s Bev Carmichael, Assistant Chancellor, University Advancement; Julia Wallace, Provost; Shannon Badura, Administrative Specialist, Advancement; Cathy Harden, wife of Chancellor Thomas Harden; and from the Green Bay community, Lise Lotte Gammeltoft and Suzy Pfeifer.
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