The political and moral economies of recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Disasters challenge human communities in multiple ways that go well beyond the obvious problems associated with large scale destruction of property and loss of life, some of them subtle but no less important for building sustainability, reducing vulnerability, enabling families to survive and reproduce, and decreasing dependence on external economic assistance. By destroying power grids, communication and transportation infrastructure, hospitals, water and sewer systems, and other public and private resources, Hurricanes Irma and Maria left the peoples of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico heavily dependent on external aid. This project explores a set of economic behaviors emerging in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, with the aim of improving scientific understandings of creative resilience, and identifying the principal sources of extreme vulnerability. In this project, we collected critical but ephemeral data in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, exploring the relationship between local moral economics, vulnerability, and resilience in post-disaster recovery zones.