Natural Disaster Recovery: Recupera Chile and Lessons Learned for the Region


Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 9:00am to 1:00pm


Lower Common Room, Adams House, 26 Plympton Street, Cambridge

*Watch full event video here

terremoto_disaster recupera_chile_impact

(photo on left side by EL MERCURIO)

Recupera Chile is a Harvard initiative started in 2011 that seeks to improve living conditions, well-being, and productivity in coastal communities in Chile that were devastated in 2010 by the earthquake and tsunami.

Recupera Chile is currently developing an academic collaboration effort with Centro Nacional de Investigación para la Gestión Integrada de Desastres Naturales (CIGIDEN, the National Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management) to produce research papers on the impact of Recupera Chile projects and to foster academic connections with faculty and students from the Pontificia Universidad Católica and three other Chilean universities. The lessons learned over Recupera Chile's six years of operations and CIGIDEN's expertise in disaster science research and crisis response within Chile are invaluable information, applicable to other disaster-affected areas in the region, such as Mexico in the wake of the recent earthquakes and Puerto Rico's recovery from Hurricane María.

This collaboration around research endeavors and data recollection and processing on the experiences and impact of Recupera Chile's community-based interventions has the end goal of creating models that can be replicated in other disaster areas for faster and more effective recovery. These models will provide references of holistic interventions, given that Recupera Chile focuses on components of human recovery that go beyond physical infrastructure reconstruction, such as mental health, early child development, and entrepreneurship.


9:00 am - Welcome Remarks: Ned Strong, Executive Director, David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS)

9:05-10:30 am - Disaster Science Research and Crisis Response within Chile: National Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN)

Three out of the ten most powerful recorded earthquakes in the world happened in Chile. The high seismicity of the subduction zone has challenged the country to develop knowledge in geophysics and engineering to develop resilient infrastructures built under stringent design codes that were tested during the Maule earthquake in 2010. Nevertheless, the country was less prepared to face the ensuing tsunami that produced important social and economic impacts.

Interdisciplinary Research for Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience in the Wake of Disasters through the Chilean CONICYT-FONDAP Program– Rodrigo Cienfuegos, Professor at the School of Engineering of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Director of the Research Center for Integrated Disaster Risk Management (CIGIDEN).

Lessons for Tsunami Risk Mitigation from Recent events occurred in Chile – Gabriel González, Professor at the Department of Geological Sciences of Universidad Católica del Norte and principal investigator at CIGIDEN.

Mediated Communication and Emerging Technologies for Community Participation in Disaster Risk Reduction Processes– Gonzalo Bacigalupe, Professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, principal investigator at CIGIDEN, and adjunct professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.

Risk Analysis and Mitigation: Research of Recent Events and their effect on their built environment – Alondra Chamorro, Professor at the School of Engineering of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and principal investigator at CIGIDEN.

10:30-10:45 am - Coffee Break

10:45 am - 12:15 pm - Replicating Lessons Learned through Recupera Chile:

Recupera Chile & DRCLAS – Doug Ahlers, founder of Recupera Chile, Senior Fellow at the Program on Crisis Leadership at HKS, where he researches and writes case studies on disasters and disaster recoveries around the world. Judith Palfrey, Faculty Leader, Recupera Chile Mental Health and Educational Interventions.

Effects of Hurricane Maria on Puerto RicoPedro Reina, Professor at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR), former Wilbur Marvin Visiting Scholar, and current director of the Harvard Puerto Rico Winter Institute (DRCLAS).

Pedro Reina is currently working with the Center for the New Economy as a member of the Executive Committee in charge of a relief fund for hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, created in part through the donation of $100,000.00 by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The Center for the New Economy is partnering as well with the Flamboyán Foundation and the Miami Community Foundation to grow this fund and distribute it to community-based organizations that offer direct services on the ground. The efforts will also include the City of Boston to channel help to Puerto Rico through the Massachusetts for Puerto Rico Fund (MassxPRFund) at The Boston Foundation.

Responses to September Earthquakes in Mexico – Emilio Rabasa Gamboa, Consul General of Mexico, and Graciela Gómez, Deputy Consul, of the Mexican Consulate in Boston. 

12:15 – 1:00 pm - Dialogue and Institutional Reflections

***All interested, please confirm attendance by emailing Francisco Maldonado***