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Risks, Health Consequences, and Response Challenges for Small-Island-Based Populations: Observations From the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 April 2018

James M. Shultz*
Affiliation:
Center for Disaster & Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP Center), Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS), University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
James P. Kossin
Affiliation:
NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Center for Weather and Climate, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
J. Marshall Shepherd
Affiliation:
UGA Athletic Association, Atmospheric Sciences Program, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA
Justine M. Ransdell
Affiliation:
Division of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL, USA
Rory Walshe
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, King’s College London Strand Campus, London WC UK, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, University College London
Ilan Kelman
Affiliation:
Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction, Institute for Global Health, University College London, Gower Street London, UK, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
Sandro Galea
Affiliation:
School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA
*
Correspondence and request reprints to e-mail address James M. Shultz, (e-mail: jshultz1@med.miami.edu).

Abstract

The intensely active 2017 Atlantic basin hurricane season provided an opportunity to examine how climate drivers, including warming oceans and rising seas, exacerbated tropical cyclone hazards. The season also highlighted the unique vulnerabilities of populations residing on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to the catastrophic potential of these storms. During 2017, 22 of the 29 Caribbean SIDS were affected by at least one named storm, and multiple SIDS experienced extreme damage. This paper aims to review the multiplicity of storm impacts on Caribbean SIDS throughout the 2017 season, to explicate the influences of climate drivers on storm formation and intensity, to explore the propensity of SIDS to sustain severe damage and prolonged disruption of essential services, to document the spectrum of public health consequences, and to delineate the daunting hurdles that challenged emergency response and recovery operations for island-based, disaster-affected populations. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2019;13:5–17)

Type
Policy Analysis
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2018 

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