Título en inglés.

Nilsa D. Padilla-Elías, Julieanne Miranda Bermúdez, Gabriela A. Algarín Zayas, Marisol Peña-Orellana, Ralph Rivera-Gutiérrez


The impact of disasters on the population does not discriminate on grounds of sex, age or socioeconomic status. However, some populations show higher vulnerability than others in emergency or disaster situations. The aim of this article is to present the frequency and distribution of some of the vulnerable populations in Puerto Rico, whose fragility increases during and after disasters. In turn, the findings are discussed to provide a look at possible strategies to address the needs of these populations and thus safeguard their welfare in disaster situations. Secondary data from the Hazard and Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) of the Puerto Rico public health systems was used to identify vulnerable populations. Results showed that in Puerto Rico almost half of the population (48%) is under poverty level and 20.4% has at least one disability. Furthermore, 21% of the population is considered vulnerable because of their age group: 6% are children under five years old, and 15% have at least 65 years old, which indicates an aging population. According to these findings, Puerto Rico presents great challenges due to the large number of vulnerable populations, especially in disaster response.


vulnerable populations, disasters, disability, Puerto Rico, emergencies, preparation

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