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Ian Davis
This reflection, based on a keynote address to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of Disasters on 14 September 2017, begins by considering some of the prevailing assumptions that existed at the time of the journal's creation. Next is a summary of significant milestones during the past 40 years, covering major global trends, changing disaster impacts, and key developments in disaster risk management. Contrasting approaches in the first and fourth decade of the journal's history are then followed by examples of changes in terminology in the disaster field as an indication of shifting values...
February 12, 2019: Disasters
Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh
This paper reflects on contemporary studies of and responses to disasters, highlighting the importance of historical, spatial, and intersectional modes of analysis, and draws on the author's ongoing research on Southern-led and local community responses to displacement in the Middle East. Acknowledging the plurality of 'international communities of response', it begins by critiquing the depiction of selected responses to disasters as 'positive' 'paradigm shifts', including in reference to the 'localisation of aid, and the United Nations' Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan for Syria...
February 12, 2019: Disasters
Luka Kuol
Past disasters have been well studied, but the challenge of using the findings to improve the management of future events remains a daunting task. This paper argues that there are new and complex disasters of which the state itself has become the main source, as reflected in the Horn of Africa. This region is characterised by increasing vulnerability owing to the alarming decline of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism. These new disasters are less researched because of the hazard of conducting fieldwork in such environments...
January 20, 2019: Disasters
Irasema Alcántara-Ayala
LA RED (Network of Social Studies on the Prevention of Disasters in Latin America) has become the most influential group analysing disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean. Its contributions have paved the way for a new way of understanding disasters, disaster risk, and their management, concerning: (i) that disasters are not natural, but socially constructed; (ii) the inherent nexus between disaster risk, development, and the environment; (iii) the significance of small- and medium-sized disasters and extensive and intensive risks; (iv) disaster risk management at the local level; and (v) integrated disaster risk research and the need for forensic investigations of disasters...
January 20, 2019: Disasters
Frances D'Souza
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 21, 2018: Disasters
J C Gaillard
Disaster studies is faced with a fascinating anomaly: frequently it claims to be critical and innovative, as suggested by the so-called vulnerability paradigm that emerged more than 40 years ago, yet often it is perpetuating some of the core and problematic tenets of the hazard paradigm that we were asked to challenge initially. This paper interrogates why such an anomaly persists. In so doing, it employs Antonio Gramsci's concept of hegemony to unpack why disaster studies is still dominated by Western epistemologies and scholars that perpetuate an orientalist view of disasters...
December 21, 2018: Disasters
Melanie M Bakema, Constanza Parra, Philip McCann
Learning after a disaster is crucial in creating more resilient places. However, many societies are repeatedly overwhelmed by disasters. This can be because of missed opportunities to learn in post-disaster settings or because of actions implemented that seem to be highly relevant to recovery in the short term, but potentially constrain aspirations in the longer term. This paper assesses learning processes among state and non-state actors and the ways in which these are bridged and scaled up to wider improvements in governance...
December 18, 2018: Disasters
Kate Roll, Geoffrey Swenson
Despite sustained scholarly interest in post-conflict states, there has not been a thorough review and analysis of associated methodology and the challenges of conducting research in these contexts. Addressing this gap, this paper directs attention to the particular effects of these settings on access and data quality and their ramifications for the resulting scholarship. It assesses the intrinsic challenges of performing fieldwork in these environments, drawing on both relevant social science literature and the authors' experiences of carrying out research in Afghanistan and Timor-Leste...
December 10, 2018: Disasters
Anna Müller, Vesalio Mora, Edwin Rojas, Jorge Díaz, Obdulio Fuentes, Estuardo Giron, Ada Gaytan, Jacob van Etten
Drills are an important element of disaster management, helping to increase preparedness and reduce the risk of real-time failure. Yet, they are not applied systematically to slow-onset disasters such as a drought, which causes damage that is not instantly apparent and thus does not solicit immediate action. This case study evaluates how drills inform institutional responses to slow-onset disasters. It spotlights Guatemala, a country where drought has severe impacts on livelihoods and the food security of small farmers...
December 5, 2018: Disasters
Nick Middleton, Peter Tozer, Brenton Tozer
Sand and dust storms (SDS) are wind erosion events typically associated with dryland regions, although they can occur in most environments and their impacts are frequently experienced outside drylands because desert dust haze often is transported great distances. SDS represent hazards to society in numerous ways, yet they do not feature prominently in the disasters literature. This paper considers SDS in a hazard context by examining their ramifications in economic, physical, and social terms, with a focus on agriculture, health, transport, utilities, households, and the commercial and manufacturing sector...
November 29, 2018: Disasters
Saleena Subaiya, Joshua Stillman, Yoanna Pumpalova
This study sought to assess access to utilities, basic needs, financial burden, and perceived safety among households in the Rockaway Peninsula of New York City, United States, four months after Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. A modified cluster survey design was used to select households for inclusion in the study. Survey content was created using the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) toolkit, gathering relevant data on access to food and water, basic utilities, financial burden, household demographics, and safety...
November 29, 2018: Disasters
Gemma Sou
The most important theoretical argument concerning decentralised participatory governance is that it can make a government more accountable for the needs of the governed. Key to this process are participatory spaces that act as mechanisms for dialogue between citizens and local government. However, within Cochabamba, a city in the centre of Bolivia, South America, 'at-risk' citizens engage minimally with disaster risk issues in participatory spaces, despite high levels of civic participation. This is because 'at-risk' populations view disasters as a private/household problem that is symptomatic of household error, rather than seeing them as a broader public problem due to wider structural inequalities...
November 22, 2018: Disasters
Daanish Mustafa, Giovanna Gioli, Manzoor Memon, Meher Noshirwani, Iffat Idris, Nadeem Ahmed
This paper reflects critically on the results of a vulnerability assessment process at the household and community scale using a quantitative vulnerabilities and capacities index. It validates a methodology for a social vulnerability assessment at the local scale in 62 villages across four agro-ecological/livelihood zones in Sindh Province, Pakistan. The study finds that the move from vulnerability narratives to numbers improves the comparability and communicational strength of the concept. The depth and nuance of vulnerability, however, can be realised only by a return to narrative...
November 19, 2018: Disasters
Manuel Tironi, Tania Manríquez
Deemed as technocratic and exclusionary, disaster management has failed in its promise of knowing, let alone controlling, catastrophic events. Consequently, disaster managers are searching outside of science for sense-making analytics. This paper analyses the emergent narratives articulated by disaster managers in Chile to cope with the uncertain nature of their object of intervention. It explores how knowledge of disasters is modified and enriched by disaster managers in what is termed here as 'lateral knowledge': the epistemic adjustment by which practitioners revalidate their expert status by expanding key assumptions about disaster risk reduction...
November 19, 2018: Disasters
Tomohide Atsumi, Yoshihiro Seki, Hironori Yamaguchi
Disaster recovery is a dynamic process of creating, maintaining, and changing the meaningful context of survivors. It is completed when they redevelop their self-reliance and resume managing their social relations with a sense of community. This study employed action research to examine how researchers and survivors collaborated to change disaster recovery through the generative power of metaphor in a small village in Japan that experienced the Niigata-Chuetsu earthquake on 23 October 2004. It outlines long-term collaborative practices as survivors undertook new activities owing to the power of the metaphor of 'school'...
November 15, 2018: Disasters
Emefa Sewordor, Ann-Margaret Esnard, Alka Sapat, Lorena Schwartz
Diasporas and diaspora non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are increasingly important as resource lifelines to their home countries, yet the resources that they mobilise, the types of challenges that they face, and their coping mechanisms are not well explored or understood in the context of disaster recovery. To fill this knowledge gap, this study employed an inductive qualitative methodological approach, using interviews to comprehend the role played by Haitian diaspora NGOs after the catastrophic earthquake in 2010...
November 15, 2018: Disasters
Renee Zahnow, Rebecca Wickes, Mel Taylor, Jonathan Corcoran
Disasters can have severe and long-lasting consequences for individuals and communities. While scholarly evidence indicates that access to social support can ameliorate their negative impacts, less understood is whether or not neighbourhood social capital can facilitate recovery. This study uses two waves of survey data-collected before and after a significant flood in Brisbane, Australia, in 2011-to examine the relationship between the severity of the event at the individual and neighbourhood level, access to neighbourhood social capital and individual-level social support, and functioning in the post-disaster environment...
November 15, 2018: Disasters
Mark Kammerbauer, John Minnery
Risk communication and risk perception are critical factors in disaster management. Governments at all levels play a part in communicating risk, whereas the perception of risk entails active roles by community participants, including potential and actual victims of disasters. This paper discusses these matters in relation to the floods in Brisbane, Australia, in 2011. The findings are based on interviews with representatives of households whose dwellings or business premises were fully or partially inundated by the waters...
October 4, 2018: Disasters
Greg Bankoff
A warming climate and less predictable weather patterns, as well as an expanding urban infrastructure susceptible to geophysical hazards, make the world an increasingly dangerous place, even for those living in high-income countries. It is an opportune moment, therefore, from the vantage point of the second decade of the twenty-first century, to review the terms and concepts that have been employed regularly over the past 50 years to assess risk and to measure people's exposure to such events in the light of the wider geopolitical context...
October 4, 2018: Disasters
Ayesha Siddiqi, Jose Jowel P Canuday
Disasters are framed as political moments when states are unable to provide security to their citizens, causing disruption and a possible 'break' in the state-citizen social contract. Evidence from the frontlines of insurgency and secessionist movements in southern Philippines suggests that social contracts do not 'break' in this manner, despite widespread suffering during a complex event. This paper presents new perspectives on social contracts after disasters, in conflict-affected regions. Using ethnographic data from two case studies in the Philippines, it argues that disasters in conflict-affected areas do not manifest a 'break' in social contracts in ways that result in 'state failure' and 'insurgent capture'...
October 2018: Disasters
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