Harnessing creativity for change: The art of resilience

Scientists are constantly getting better at knowing when the next hurricane, landslide, or aofr-facebook_0.pngflood will happen. However, science communication about these disasters lags behind. As Leonardo da Vinci described, art has a unique power to communicate this type of knowledge to people everywhere.  

Natural events and disasters of the past have influenced some of the most iconic art of our time. From Turner’s sunsets to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein – both were composed in the shadow of the greatest volcanic eruption of our age, Mount Tambora in 1815. The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai (c. 1829–33) has been interpreted as a warning about tsunami risk. In an era of increasing natural hazards and climate change, art can also communicate the future risks we face.

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Rebuilding communities after disasters – four and a half lessons learned

The death toll from Cyclone Idai that ripped into Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi in IDAI Aftermath - A man fixes the roof of his house in Praia NovaMarch 2019 is now above 1,000, with damages estimated at $2 billion. In 2018, more than 10,000 people lost their lives in disasters (with $225 billion of economic losses). Approximately 79 percent of fatalities occurred in the Asia Pacific region, including the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. In fact, 2017 and 2018 have been estimated as the most expensive back-to-back years for weather disasters, totaling $653 billion of losses.

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After disasters hit, how countries and communities can build back better

asset_3Disaster losses disproportionately affect poor people, according to the 2017 “Unbreakable” report. The Caribbean Hurricane season of 2017 was a tragic illustration of this.

Not one, but two Category 5 hurricanes wreaked destruction on numerous small islands, causing severe damages on islands like Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Martin. The human cost of these disasters was immense, and the impact of this devastation was felt most strongly by poorer communities in the path of the storms.

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