RAPID: Public Support for Disaster Risk Reduction Policies in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian Grant

RAPID: Public Support for Disaster Risk Reduction Policies in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian .


  • This Rapid Response Research (RAPID) project creates new knowledge that is crucial for developing more resilient communities. It improves understanding of how experiencing a disaster affects people’s attitudes towards, and support for, disaster risk and disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies, particularly building standards and construction regulations. Project researchers collect and analyze waves of public opinion data from the Bahamas, parts of which were devastated by the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian in early September 2019. The project will advance scientific understanding of post-disaster public opinion dynamics and help support strategic efforts to strengthen policies and programs to reduce human and economic losses from disasters. It will also serve U.S. humanitarian and security interests, since losses from hazard events in the Caribbean region affect U.S. foreign assistance, immigration flows and patterns, and, ultimately, national security. Finally, this project will increase public engagement with and appreciation of science and technology, as researchers will disseminate public-facing reports on key findings about hazard event experiences, public support for risk reduction, and “windows of opportunity” for achieving enhanced building survivability and safety. The data for this project will be collected over a 12 month period in multiple waves of telephone surveys in the Bahamas, and then analyzed by researchers at Florida International University’s Extreme Events Institute. Findings will reveal whether and how “focusing events” like disasters cause event-driven shifts in public awareness and opinion—a question for which existing research has offered mixed or at best inconclusive results. Concretely, the project seeks to understand a) whether—and how—disasters increase perceptions of risk and public demand for risk reduction policies, and b) the extent and duration of any such changes in public opinion (e.g., whether these changes in attitudes are long-term or short-term, whether attitudes tend to return to baseline pre-event levels or settle at a new equilibrium). The project will contribute to the accumulation of knowledge not only in disaster research but also in public policy and administration, the psychology of risk, and political culture.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • May 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021

administered by

sponsor award ID

  • 2011872