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Foreignness as a constraint on learning: the impact of migrants on disaster resilience in small islands

Record type: Article

Knowledge about natural hazard management has increased significantly since Gilbert White's seminal research in 1945, yet people are still badly affected by natural hazards. A key question remains in natural hazards research: why, when all the conditions for effective disaster risk reduction are in place, do some people not take action to reduce their risk of harm? Through a questionnaire-based study we investigated the motivating factors that led residents of the Cayman Islands to prepare for annual tropical cyclones (hurricanes). Factors that increase the likelihood of individuals preparing for hurricanes are: previous experience of major storms, having linking networks and ties, having a child under the age of 15 in the home, and residency status - expatriate residents are less likely to prepare. Factors that appear to prevent adaptive behaviour include: living close to or adjacent to the coast, recent migration to the islands, and living in rented accommodation. The findings of the survey confirm that even within societies that are well prepared for tropical cyclones, there are still sub-groups who do not engage with the preparedness process. In the case of the Cayman Islands, new migrants are the most vulnerable to tropical cyclones as they tend to fall into the demographic groups least likely to prepare for cyclones, live in locations with high levels of exposure to cyclone impacts, and interact mostly with other expatriates with no previous experience of cyclone impacts. As climate change promises to bring an increasing intensity of tropical cyclones, these findings have relevance for all islands which draw on migrant workers to support economic growth.

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Citation

Tompkins, Emma L., Hurston, Lisa-Ann and Poortinga, Wouter (2009) Foreignness as a constraint on learning: the impact of migrants on disaster resilience in small islands Environmental Hazards, 8, (4), pp. 263-277. (doi:10.3763/ehaz.2009.0018).

More information

Published date: 1 December 2009
Keywords: caribbean, climate change, expatriates, hurricane, learning, migrants, migration, motivation, networks, principal component analysis, tropical cyclone
Organisations: Global Env Change & Earth Observation

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 200229
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/200229
ISSN: 1747-7891
PURE UUID: 4d05b55d-eed5-4f90-8685-2f99eec5cbf9

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 19 Oct 2011 09:30
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 11:14

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Contributors

Author: Lisa-Ann Hurston
Author: Wouter Poortinga

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