Mapping and Assessing Coastal Resilience in the Caribbean Region
1Lam, N.S.N.; 2Qiang, Y.; 3Arenas, H.; 4Brito, P.; 5Liu, K.
Assessing the vulnerability and resilience to coastal hazards is a critical worldwide issue, especially for hurricane-prone coastal regions such as the Caribbean. However, the development of a credible and acceptable metric for assessing vulnerability and resilience to coastal hazards is not an easy task. Such effort has been seriously hampered by the lingering disagreement over the definitions of the terms in the research community, making the identification of the indicator variables difficult. Moreover, most vulnerability and resilience indices were derived in an arbitrarily manner with no empirical validation of the indices. Cartography and GIS analysis can contribute effectively to the solution of the issue by integrating natural and human data layers for assessment, mapping, and visualization. The paper demonstrates the use of a new approach, called the Resilience Inference Measurement (RIM) model, to assess the resilience of 25 countries in the Caribbean region to hurricanes. The RIM indices of the countries were first computed using 11 variables representing three dimensions: exposure, damage, and recovery. Data were derived from integrating various data sources through a number of GIS and cartographic interpolation procedures. The RIM resilience indices were mapped and compared with the vulnerability indices computed from an earlier study by this research team. By mapping and comparing the two sets of indices, additional insights could be gained. The resilience assessment results show that Turks and Caicos Islands had the highest resilience, whereas Montserrat had the lowest. This paper contributes to the hazard literature by demonstrating new vulnerability and resilience assessment methodologies that include validation and enable inference. The methods can be used as practical planning tools to assess and monitor the progress of resilience. At the same time, the paper contributes to the cartography and GIS literature by demonstrating the need to integrate data and perspectives from multiple disciplines and regions, as well as the ability of geospatial technology in producing useful decision-making tools for a very pressing societal problem.
Vulnerability, resilience; The RIM model; Caribbean