Effects of Visual Impairment on the Preparation, Response, and Recovery from the 2017 Hurricane Season in Puerto Rico
Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Global Inclusion and Social Development
The 2017 hurricane season in Puerto Rico brought rain and wind forces the likes of which had not been seen in 90 years on the island. Some say it will take at least ten years to recover from the damage caused to functional necessities such as roadways, assuming full recovery is possible. While the general populace in Puerto Rico struggled to recover, populations such as people with visual impairments experienced the struggle more acutely. Independent living, limited as it generally was before Hurricane Maria, was further compromised. There was a feeling of abandonment throughout the community of people with visual impairments from government and non-government organizations. Agencies working in the hurricane aftermath struggled to check-in with and appropriately meet the needs of people with visual impairments.
This case study of the 2017 hurricane season in Puerto Rico focused on the phases of preparation, response, and recovery as they related to people with visual impairments. The study used a qualitative approach to gather the perspectives of people with visual impairments as well as representatives from government agencies, relief agencies, and organizations that serve people with visual impairments in Puerto Rico. The goal of this study was to shed light on the experiences of people with visual impairments and related organizations throughout the 2017 hurricane season in Puerto Rico and to highlight their recommendations for changes in practices for future hurricane preparation, response, and recovery. Lessons observed from the findings of this research may be leveraged to facilitate a post-disaster society that is more inclusive and reflective of the needs of people with visual impairments in Puerto Rico. Further research may replicate this methodology to explore the needs of people with visual impairments in other locations in preparation for future natural disasters.
McCormack, Kevin D., "Effects of Visual Impairment on the Preparation, Response, and Recovery from the 2017 Hurricane Season in Puerto Rico" (2019). Graduate Doctoral Dissertations. 524.