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11:29 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Katrina/Sandy Website Offers Comparisons In Resilience

Luisa Dantas created a Hurricane Katrina-related website called Land of Opportunity, which accompanies a documentary film of the same name. It chronicles ongoing challenges of disaster recovery and resilience.

The newest feature is a timeline that compares and contrasts stories of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. 

Dantas explains why she decided to use media to draw these connections. She says Land of Opportunity has always sought to apply the lessons of Hurricane Katrina to other areas that might be experiencing challenges in post-crisis scenarios.

"When we saw Sandy threatening the East Coast, it sounded very familiar in some aspects. Can there be lessons learned?" she asks. And, perhaps more importantly, she poses another question about disaster preparation and recovery: "How can we get better at this?"

Before Sandy, she says, it was easier for the nation to dismiss what happened along the Gulf Coast in Katrina (and other storms) as a regional or New Orleans problem.

Then, in 2012, New York, "the most theoretically invulnerable city in the world, was brought to its knees by Sandy. You know, the subway system was submerged. The infrastructure of that city was so much more vulnerable than anyone allowed themselves to imagine."

New Orleans and the Gulf Coast has a knowledge base on how to recover from a disaster. "That's an underutilized resource," Dantas says.

The interactive timeline is not based on strict chronology, but more on general phases of disaster, defined as: Storm, Aftermath, Recovery, Rebuilding and Future. New Orleans stands as the base for understanding these phases, Dantas says. Users are encouraged to explore the themes as they wish, and contribute as well.

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