Tulane Receives Grant to Build Resilience in Disaster-Prone Communities

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Terrebonne Parish suffered some of the worst damage from Hurricane Ida and will benefit from a grant that will allow the community to be more resilient in the face of climate change.

The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA), a program of Tulane University School of Social Work, has received a $750,000 award from the Walmart Foundation to help vulnerable Louisiana communities prepare for disasters in the face of climate change.

Led by Reggie Ferreira, the Consortium for Equitable Disaster Resilience (CEDR) award will provide communities at risk with a resilience education framework that will teach local leaders how to secure disaster resilience resources.

“Effective resilience programming makes a difference in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery,” said Ferreira, DRLA director and associate professor of social work.

“To move the needle towards equitable disaster resilience, responses must engage entire environments, systems and structures, and include everyone in the discussion. Any community is only as strong as its least empowered individual. .”

Reggie Ferreira, director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane

“Our approach is both grassroots and leadership focused. Both are needed to drive and support community-level change efforts that promote equitable resilience outcomes, especially for marginalized communities. With the impacts of climate change and the increase in the number and intensity of disasters, inequalities are becoming more apparent.

Ferreira said Hurricane Ida is the latest disaster to prove the need for resilience training, especially in underserved communities. Considered one of the 10 costliest Atlantic hurricanes in the United States, Ida left many dead and injured, left thousands of properties destroyed or uninhabitable, and hampered economic development. According to FEMA’s latest National Hazard Index, the geology, topography, and location of the Gulf region create frequent hazards and risks that result in displacement, loss of life, property, and livelihoods.

In its grant application to the Walmart Foundation, which cites resilience and disaster preparedness as one of its focus areas, the DRLA highlighted its globally recognized program and proven success in building resilience to disasters. among the Community institutions.

“Through our inclusive approach, we will strive to address the impacts of climate change, structural inequalities, disasters and barriers to financing that communities face in this context, especially for marginalized communities in the southern Gulf” , said Ferreira.

The project team will work to increase the capacity of local entities to develop plans and unlock funds available through federal programs and other outlets; encourage local government leaders to listen to stakeholder concerns when preparing mitigation plans for their jurisdictions; and assess barriers, particularly at the federal level, to obtaining public funding.

“Research shows that climate change, structural racial inequalities and disasters deepen inequalities within communities and that the failure to unlock financial resources before and after a disaster has caused a greater divide in economic well-being and financial,” the Walmart Foundation grant invitation reads.

Ferreira’s team includes a range of equity, climate and resilience experts from Tulane, Georgetown University and Dillard University. In partnership with the Walmart Foundation, they will implement a variety of actions over the next two years, including building local leadership, assessing barriers associated with government funding for resilience, developing and testing a resilience model for communities, implementing implements a mentorship program for community organizations and trains the next generation of students, community members and Walmart employees in collaboration with other grant recipients.

“The project team will develop a series of open-source courses to help with resilience and fairness training,” Ferreira said. “The inclusion of education as an explicit goal of our proposed project will advance discovery and understanding and foster teaching, training and learning in a variety of ways.”

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