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Hurricane Harvey spotlights critical factor in community resilience: The hidden capacity in civil society – News @ Northeastern

On August 27, 2017, amidst flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the National Weather Service (NWS) sent a tweet with a dire warning: “This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety. #Harvey”.

The hurricane which made landfall in Texas on Friday, August 25 and weakened to a tropical storm by Saturday, was “the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in 13 years and the strongest to strike Texas since 1961’s Hurricane Carla,” according to the Associated Press.

As the disaster unfolded, citizens sprang into action, aiding the rescue efforts.

In an interview with News@Northeastern, Global Resilience Institute Founding Director Stephen Flynn said that Harvey brought into the spotlight a critical factor in community resilience: “the hidden capacity in civil society that comes out often in these events.”

Flynn said there are extraordinary stories of volunteer rescue operations and efforts throughout the region in addition to—and in many cases in coordination with—the work by officials at the local, state, and federal levels. “That’s one of the key elements you always need to draw on in a catastrophe of this scale,” Flynn said. [News@Northeastern]

Professor Daniel Aldrich, director of the Security and Resilience Program at Northeastern, told News@Northeastern reporter Greg St. Martin, “What we’re seeing is a bottom-up, emergent response.”

CLICK HERE to read the full interview

Thomas Luna, left, and Hugo Elizonda, right, rescue Bobby Nelson, 78, from his flooded home in the Ravensway neighborhood in northwest Houston after Hurricane Harvey, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Luna and Elizondo came with a fishing boat to help with the rescue effort. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
Thomas Luna, left, and Hugo Elizonda, right, rescue Bobby Nelson, 78, from his flooded home in the Ravensway neighborhood in northwest Houston after Hurricane Harvey, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. Luna and Elizondo came with a fishing boat to help with the rescue effort. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)