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Disaster Resilience at Community Level

by Marcus
Disaster Resilience at Community Level

The International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction conduct research on disaster resilience at community level.

Without a doubt, the world is seeing an increase in the number and intensity of natural disasters. But how can communities without existing advanced infrastructure be enabled to prepare for the worst and minimise the impact of a disaster when it strikes? In this selection of articles, strategies are discussed to help facilitate disaster resiliance within communities in different regions of the world, but facing similar problems.

A localized disaster-resilience index to assess coastal communities based on an analytic hierarchy process (AHP)

The increased number of natural hazards due to climate variability has resulted in numerous disasters in developing countries. In the Philippines, these are expected to be more common in coastal areas. The common approach to mitigate disasters in this area is to enhance the inherent capabilities of local communities to reduce the effects. Thus, this study proposed an index for a disaster-resilient coastal community at the local level.

Disaster Resilience at Community Level

Image: Disaster Resilience at Community Level

The composites of the index were determined through a process of prioritizing national-level components of a risk-management and vulnerability-reduction system. The process followed a Delphi technique, wherein 20 decision makers in Baler, Aurora, the Philippines identified criteria and elements that can be used to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities using paired comparisons for the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP). The results showed that the environmental and natural resource management, sustainable livelihood, social protection, and planning regimes were very important and represented ?70% of the overall weights of criteria subjected to comparisons.

These criteria and their elements represented the local-level outcome indicators of the composite index for a disaster-resilient coastal community, which was measured using a weighted linear average (WLC) approach to both outcome and process indicators. The index could be used by local governments as a tool to facilitate meaningful disaster-risk reduction and management. Read the full article here

The double bind of poverty and community disaster risk reduction: A case study from the Caribbean

Disaster risk reduction (DRR) at the community level is usually addressed by forming community based disaster organisations and training persons in disaster management courses. The focus is mainly on the response phase of a disaster, but understanding the overall impact of disasters requires a more comprehensive approach.

Disaster Resilience at Community Level

Image: Disaster Resilience at Community Level

This paper assesses the level of vulnerability and Community DRR capacity in four Windward Island communities. This assessment is based on a questionnaire survey, of some 400 householders across four island states, and 24 semi-structured interviews with key informants involved in community development and disaster management.

The findings show that, in general, there is a sense of community in the Windward Islands but a general lack of coordination and collaboration on issues related to disaster management. Where community organisations exist they tend to work in isolation, this exacerbates vulnerability.

Poor communities have strong mechanisms to manage disasters but these strong internal ties militate against broader community efforts to address DRR. Essentially poverty acts as a double bind. The double bind of poverty is the bind that ties poor people together in coping while simultaneously the coping mechanisms make a barrier for engaging with other organisations. The conclusion is that there is need for multi-stakeholder partnerships to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in communities. Read the full article here

Risk interpretation and action: A conceptual framework for responses to natural hazards

Understanding how people interpret risks and choose actions based on their interpretations is vital to any strategy for disaster reduction. We review relevant literature with the aim of developing a conceptual framework to guide future research in this area.

Disaster Resilience at Community Level

Image: Disaster Resilience at Community Level

We stress that risks in the context of natural hazards always involve interactions between natural (physical) and human (behavioural) factors. Decision-making under conditions of uncertainty is inadequately described by traditional models of ‘rational choice’. Instead, attention needs to be paid to how people’s interpretations of risks are shaped by their own experience, personal feelings and values, cultural beliefs and interpersonal and societal dynamics.

Furthermore, access to information and capacity for self-protection are typically distributed unevenly within populations. Hence trust is a critical moderator of the effectiveness of any policy for risk communication and public engagement. Read the full article here


Pulished with kind permission from the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction.

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