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Disaster Recovery and Resilience Manual for Puerto Rico and Island Communities

When Hurricanes Maria tore through Puerto Rico in 2017, it caused more than $90 billion in damage, destroyed 70,000 homes and left hundreds of thousands of people without power for months. As the climate warms, scientists warn that Puerto Rico residents can expect catastrophically damaging storms with greater frequency.

Governments and private institutions focused considerable resources on recovery – rebuilding houses, commercial properties and institutions. A critical component of the recovery effort is building resilience, constructing buildings to be stronger than they were before, so they can withstand natural disasters to come.

To aid in these efforts, Enterprise Community Partners consulted more than 150 technical experts in housing, architecture, engineering, energy and risk management to create Keep Safe: A Guide for Resilient Housing Design in Island Communities. Keep Safe offers practical guidance for the construction of housing that can withstand the impacts of future disasters, including strategies to make buildings themselves stronger and less vulnerable to storms’ impacts, as well as retrofits to improve habitability when homes lose power for extended periods. The 479-page manual provides comprehensive advice on everything from site selection, vegetation and soil composition to renewable energy production and water management. It also includes detailed instructions for how to manage during a disaster and how to create plans for household and community emergency preparedness.

Download Keep Safe in English or Spanish, free of charge.