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Katrina impact, recovery topic of discussion

April 11, 2012

Chris Emrich, an expert on social vulnerability, will present a discussion about the impact and recovery from Hurricane Katrina during a campus presentation.

Chris EmrichIn ‘One Geographer’s Journey – Traveling Back to the Status Quo Along the Road of Recovery from Disaster,’ Emrich will offer a visual tour of recovery work in the area hit by Katrina in and along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The presentation, set for Friday, April 20, will include discussions of social vulnerability, disaster impact and recovery.

Emrich, a research assistant professor of geography at the University of South Carolina, will talk about areas where the recovery has gone well and places where it has slowed for various reasons.

“We have learned a lot of lessons studying the impact of Katrina,” said Lori Peek, an associate professor of sociology at CSU. “I, along with a lot of other faculty at CSU, have done a lot of research on Katrina. We all have our own experiences, and Chris has done extensive work there, too. It should be a very interesting presentation.”

Vulnerability mapped

Peek said Emrich was instrumental in creating the Social Vulnerability Index, which maps areas of the United States most vulnerable to disasters such as Katrina. Much of Colorado, including the Front Range, for example, is considered low-risk, but southeastern sections of the state are considered high-risk because many lower-income families live in those areas.

“There is a great deal of synergy going on here between what we are studying and the work Chris and his team at South Carolina do,” Peek said. “A lot of our faculty and students use the Social Vulnerability Index because it is such a valuable tool in research.”

Talk followed by discussion

The event is set for 3:30 p.m. in Room A-203 of the Clark Building. Emrich’s presentation will last 45 minutes, followed by a question-and-answer session. The event is free and open to the public. CSU’s Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis, the Department of Sociology, Geospatial Centroid and the School of Global Environmental Sustainability are sponsors.