A silhouette illustration of a beautiful gnarled tree, with windswept leaves and a twisted trunk. An elegant line curves near the base of the trunk, while the tree roots nestle against the earth.

Audio Portrait: Germán Parodi Audio Transcript

Disability after Disaster: Reflections from a Disabled First Responder

I’ve lived through hurricanes.  As a longtime wheelchair user, and being involved with the culture of disability, that does make a stark difference.  

Everyone that experiences a massive disaster has gone through a level of trauma.  And rarely, if ever, do systems recognize the trauma and then address it as trauma and build reconstruction from that perspective.  

The howling sounds and the experience of reliving it…

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico.  Becoming disabled, one of the reasons why I moved to Philadelphia was to run away from hurricanes.

People with disabilities are at the margins of response.  Data shows we die and are injured two to four times more than people without disabilities.  When we’re not prioritized, knowingly, there’s a level of responsibility that’s not being accounted for.

There are still people living in tents in Puerto Rico.  And we have hurricane season coming.


Speaker: Germán Parodi

Editors: Claire Cunningham & Julia Watts Belser

Music Composition: Matthias Herrmann

Video Production: Vicky Wilson

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