Tue November 26, 2013
WestSouthwest: WMU Georgraphy Professor on disaster relief in the Philippines
Western Michigan University Geography Professor Lisa DeChano-Cook has done extensive research on disaster relief.
Infrastructure is important, but in some cases roads, bridges and other modes of transit have sustained massive damage in a major storm such as a typhoon. DeChano-Cook says military transport is needed when roads aren't available. But in the Philippines, that was a challenge in part because airports could not be used.
Tornados recently ripped through the Midwest, but the storm was on a much smaller scale. DeChano-Cook says the U.S. is also better equipped for disaster relief. She says the differences are geography as well as politics and the availability of resources.
DeChano-Cook says planning is important for disaster relief. But she says a typhoon the size of the one that hit this month in the Philippines is tough to plan for. DeChano-Cook says the geography of the area makes it tough to evacuate on a large-scale.
Many people will move back to where the typhoon struck. DeChano-Cook says it's costly for some people to leave and find an area less likely to get hit by a typhoon. But she says "sense of place" also describes why some people want to come back. DeChano-Cook says some people leave, but she says there are people who want to stay in the place where they grew up or have made a home.