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The Tourism—Disaster—Conflict Nexus, Recovering from Catastrophic Disaster in Asia, Volume 9. Volume 8. Volume 7. Volume 6. Volume 5. Volume 4. Volume 3. While the potential integration of sustainable development with disaster preparedness and mitigation is appealing, efforts to build consensus among organizations and citizen groups have often met with limited success.


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Aguirre observes that there is inadequate expertise to make the fundamental cultural and institutional changes required to implement the concept, and that ideologically driven norms associated with sustainability could lead to a discounting of real advances in disaster research and practice outside of these norms. One obstacle is the low visibility of disaster issues in the sustainable development debate. Historically, there has been only limited attention toward integrating sustainable development with disaster reduction efforts. Assessments in the s of mission statements and policies of national governments and multilateral development institutions e.

Berke and Beatley, More recently, many of these institutions have revised their mission statements and begun to integrate disaster loss reduction with their mainstream development activities UNDP, Despite a shift in interest, disasters are still often used as indicators of nonsustainable development and as evidence that existing development practices are often not sustainable. There is a need for research on how and to what extent the recent shift toward disaster concerns has influenced long-range development practices and yielded measurable progress in human development. Because of its historic low visibility, contemporary characterizations of the need for disaster reduction are often flawed.

For example, while there is recognition that the connection between disasters and development is strong, this does not mean that disasters will disappear if sustainable development is translated into practice. Indeed, sustainable development does not necessarily translate to safe development. In many countries it is doubtful that improved development practices can prevent catastrophic events completely. Some built environments are too valuable or culturally significant to be abandoned or relocated.

The capital cities Mexico City and Wellington, New Zealand are situated astride seismic fault zones, and New Orleans, as indicated by the Hurricane Katrina and other experiences, and Venice will remain susceptible to flooding. Further, the built environments of megacities are too large and dynamic to be made completely safe Mitchell, While in the s there were only four cities with a population greater than 5 million, by there were 28 and in there were New scales of vulnerability have emerged with the rapidly growing presence of megacities, including the new dimensions of large high-density concentrations of populations with immense sprawl and a serious increase in infrastructural, socioeconomic, and ecological overload.

These cities may develop extreme dynamism in demographic, economic, social, and political processes. Both phenomena—the new scale and dynamism—make megacities highly vulnerable not only to natural hazards but also to technological hazards and terrorist attacks. Such agglomerations are highly complex and have major risks, which present significant challenges. Another obstacle is the exclusion of sustainable development concerns by the international humanitarian aid delivery system, a vast network of emergency relief and development organizations.

Until recently, these organizations had not acknowledged sustainable development in shaping their aid programs. Emergency relief organizations often consider disasters as isolated events that require unique, crisis-oriented, societal responses. Disaster-stricken people are often viewed as helpless victims, and aid is distributed free, as a form of charity.

However, this perspective has recently been changing as international relief organizations have shifted more attention to building the capacity of local people to take control over the design of aid delivery programs that affect their lives. For example, Strategy —the long-range plan for guiding aid delivery activities of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies IFRC —reflects this change by emphasizing the linkage between emergency relief activities and local capacity building IFRC, The historical approach to emergency relief has been to meet short-term needs, but not the underlying problem of disaster vulnerability in poor countries.

Studies have found that sometimes the impact of aid from emergency relief organizations can be counterproductive Harrell-Bond, ; Oliver-Smith and Goldman, ; Berke and Beatley, ; Oliver-Smith, Aid recipients often adopt attitudes and behaviors that impede their progress toward self-sufficiency. The primary objective of development organizations is economic growth and improving the ability of poor countries to cope with the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment.

The underlying rationale was that project investment decisions should focus on immediate concerns associated with poverty and that investments would produce more resources to be available for disaster reduction. A report by the World Bank indicated that up to the s this approach often ignored disasters. The report also indicated that internationally funded development projects during the s were frequently designed for short-term exploitation of natural resources to generate exports to help repay massive foreign debts, but that the projects often exacerbated the severity of disasters by inducing substantial environmental degradation e.

Another oft cited reason for failure to include disasters in development decisions is the common misperception that the devastating effects of disasters are a sign that only the poor suffer during from such events. Mounting evidence suggests that achieving disaster resiliency is far more complex than the poverty argument would imply since disasters do not only affect the poor Rocha and Christopolis, Since the s, some disturbing trends have emerged.

Countries experiencing rapid development suddenly lost momentum when disasters struck.

Reducing the Impact of Natural Disasters in Malawi | GFDRR

Resources for development often became scarce when they were siphoned off for recovery and reconstruction. At first, it was assumed that more disaster relief from developed countries was needed. In response, annual worldwide development funding among donor countries grew dramatically during the s and up to the peak year of ; however, economic losses expanded dramatically during the same period UNDP, Factors determining this outcome are highly complex and difficult to determine given our partial knowledge of the role of international aid delivery strategies and changing societal and environmental conditions.

However, prior studies point to the failure of emergency relief and development organizations to link disasters to long-term development issues as an important contributor to the problem. As noted above, until recently emergency relief organizations have not addressed the underlying problem of disaster vulnerability in poor countries, nor have they dealt with resolving problems of underdevelopment. Up until the s, development agencies have not been effective in accounting for disasters.

The result has been inefficient uses of development funds, which reduce already scarce resources available for new development. During the past decade there has been a change in funding plans and priorities of international humanitarian aid organizations see, for example, UNDP, The change indicates that economic development should not contribute to the conditions that undermine human and environmental sustainability and increase disaster risk, and emergency relief should recognize the need to build local capacity.

To move forward, many of these organizations recognize that there must be a clear understanding of the interaction of emergency relief and development plans with disaster risk. At issue is the need to systematically evaluate the results of these changes. Another obstacle to linking sustainable development to disasters is the limited horizon in defining what is or is not a disaster.

In contrast to the inclusive definition adopted by the committee in Chapter 1 , disaster research has historically limited its definition of disasters to rapid-onset natural and technological events or to slow-onset stressors that continu-. The field has given very little attention to slow-onset disasters brought on by armed conflict Dynes, Slow-onset disasters created by violence remain understudied and are not connected with the sustainable development debate. Slow-onset, conflict-driven disasters have been referred to as complex political emergencies or CPEs Christopolis et al.

CPEs frequently lead to displaced populations that are caught up in ongoing conflicts that often develop slowly. Recent examples during the past decade include the collapse of Yugoslovia, genocide in the Sudan, and places such as El Salvador that experience recurrent, rapid-onset disasters that take place in the midst of conflict. Of the 43 major armed conflicts throughout the world during the s, 17 took place in Africa Addison, Since , approximately 70 million people have become international refugees, nearly 40 million people have struggled with starvation, and more than 20 percent of the population has been displaced in 15 developing countries Addison, They experience a profound, intractable type of conflict, one of acute polarization.

In these cases, ethnic and nationalistic claims eclipse social and economic equity claims at the local level. Governance is perceived by at least one ethnic community as either illegitimate or structurally incapable of producing fair outcomes for subordinate ethnic groups. Given the nature and location of CPEs, they have not generated much interest among the disaster research community in developed countries.

A central justification behind the need for new theories of human response to CPEs is that existing theories are not useful in understanding these events. Theories of human response have been borrowed unreflectively from natural disasters and applied to the very different phenomena that occur in the context of CPEs Green and Ahmed, Theories of the disaster cycle, for example, are not relevant when it is impossible to differentiate between impact and recovery.

The idea of a linear relief to a development continuum for natural disasters assumes that there are clearly defined roles for various organizations in the humanitarian aid delivery system. That is, there is some certainty as to who should do what when the disaster is over. In sum, the preceding discussion identified three major obstacles to the integration of sustainable development with disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts: low visibility of disaster issues in the sustainable development debate; exclusion of sustainable development in the international humanitarian aid delivery system; and historical exclusion of CPEs from the definition of disasters by the research community.

Improvement in our knowledge of the causes and consequences of these obstacles is critical to create long-range sustainability strategies that achieve disaster resiliency. Use of a more inclusive definition of disaster is only a first step. As suggested also in Chapter 1 see Figure 1. The greatest challenge to promoting disaster resiliency is to adapt strategies that map with the great variation of types of community vulnerabilities.

Communities of refugees, indigenous people, women, children, minorities, and others within a society have different needs and opportunities for developing sustainable, disaster-resilient places. They vary in their capacity to deal with disasters as well as the strength of their ties with outside aid delivery systems. Because all social systems have very different vulnerabilities and capabilities, they have different strategies to cope with vulnerability. Christopolis et al. Simply equating vulnerability with poverty has led to a process of merely categorizing beneficiaries, rather than analyzing their situations.

Without such analysis, risk tends to be overshadowed by a pre-existing economic development agenda. Various conceptual models in development planning attempt to specify the key dimensions of effectiveness of aid delivery systems that are applicable to disaster contexts e.

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As illustrated in Figure 6. Efforts are successful when the disaster mitigation and preparedness program is responsive to household needs and builds the strength of organizations so that they are capable of achieving program goals. Source: Adapted from Korten Subsequent research has illuminated the important relationships among needs, program, and organizational capacity, concluding that the performance of an organization is a function of fit among these dimensions e.

In formulating a model of how community capability and aid delivery strategies influence the achievement of disaster resiliency, the committee draws on several explanations of governance and social capital for understanding collective action to solve public issues. A useful approach for understanding how these factors affect disaster resiliency utilizes the concepts of local horizontal and vertical integration first introduced by urban sociologist Roland Warren This chapter also draws on Berke et al.

Finally, emerging concepts of social capital are used to improve our understanding of the underlying dimensions of horizontal and vertical integration in the context of disasters and development. The idea of social capital can be used to develop a more refined definition of these links and a deeper understanding of how they are formed. Social capital has recently been given prominence by the United Nations Development Programme, which set forth the concept as a central guidance framework for using aid to mobilize communities to deal with disasters and underdevelopment UNDP, Social capital is a general construct that links concepts that sociologists, political scientists, and community development planners have been defining and testing for nearly two decades, including citizen engagement, interpersonal trust, and collective action Coleman, ; Putnam, ; Briggs, , Dynes, Figure 6.

Engagement places people in a network of local social relationships, which affects interpersonal trust. Trust, in turn, affects collective action and ultimately both individual and social benefits. Social capital is distinguished from other constructs, such as social networks and organizational capital Rohe, Social networks represent patterns of interaction, but the social capital construct is more expansive.

It embraces characteristics and consequences of interaction, including how interaction leads to trust and, ultimately, to collective action. Further, the interactions among organizations are sometimes thought of as social capital or organizational capital , but organizational interaction and social capital are not equivalent. A nongovernmental organization charged with disaster mitigation responsibilities may have many community contacts, but if people are not participating and not attending meetings, the contacts do not benefit the community. Clearly, organizational interaction is not a sufficient indicator of social capital.

In keeping with the disaster context, a community with a high degree of horizontal integration i. Stronger networks provide greater opportunity for creating interpersonal trust. The community is a viable, locally based problem-solving entity. Its organizations and individuals not only have an interest in solving public problems, but also tend to have frequent and sustained interaction, believe in one another, and work together to build consensus and act collectively.

Thus, local populations have the opportunity to define and communicate their needs, mediate disagreements, and participate in local organizational decision making. Further, strong integration among local organizations can enhance the work of external organizations through use of field staff and their knowledge of local circumstances Suparamaniam and Dekker, As a result, mitigation practices and disaster preparedness programs are more likely to fit the needs and capacities of the community.

A community with a low degree of horizontal integration has limited civic engagement and a weakly knit social network. Interaction is low among government agencies and social subgroups with an interest in collec-.

The Africa-Arab Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction

The measures on Figure 6. A more comprehensive approach to measuring social capital, which combines quantitative and qualitative research methods, has been developed by the World Bank. It is applicable to diverse social and cultural contexts Krishna and Shrader, Source: Adapted from Rohe Interpersonal trust is more likely to be low as people view ideas and actions of others with suspicion. The community thus lacks an ability to act with collective unity to solve local problems. Consequently, the fit between aid delivery programs and the needs and capacities of local people is likely to be weak.


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  4. A community with a high degree of vertical integration has a relatively high number of ties through engagement with larger political, social, and economic institutions. Vertical integration helps expands networks with these institutions and creates trust between local people and larger institutions that are important in taking effective collective action. Moreover, issues of local concern have a greater chance of being communicated to central authorities.

    The extent to which vertical integration is beneficial relates strongly to the strength of horizontal relationships. However, when the community has strong horizontal integration in the face of weak vertical integration, there is likely to be tension as communities attempt to exert control over external interventions that are inconsistent with local needs. Weak vertical integration between communities and outside organizations can create severe problems when combined with a weak system of horizontal integration.

    In this situation, knowledge and degree of trust of the intentions, procedures, requirements, and benefits of outside programs are likely to be weak. Consequently, the likelihood of external programs fitting local needs and capacities to undertake collective action to advance disaster resilience initiatives is very low. In societies with weak state administrative and judicial structures, notably in developing countries, weak vertical ties dominate and undermine formation of horizontal relations.

    The absence of laws and contracts that are enforced by the state is a precondition of the emergence of a patron-client system Putnam, ; Krishna, Political patronage, bribes, and unpredictable use of sanctions generates uncertainty in agreements and mistrust. Lack of security and trust, ensured neither by the state nor by civic norms and networks, translates to powerful top-down patron systems. Vertical relations are defined by coercive authority and dependence, with little or no horizontal solidarity among equals.

    Organized criminality is frequently a result of the pattern of horizontal mistrust, vertical exploita-. This poor state of vertical relations between patrons and clients or local people percolates throughout the social ladder and creates stagnation in economic development and a general reluctance to cooperate. Based on the conceptualization of Berke et al. As noted, Berke et al.

    A Type I community is ideally suited for effective collective action. It possesses strong vertical and horizontal integration. It has well-developed bridging capital with external aid programs, while it has high levels of social capital that will allow it to exert influence in using aid in ways that meet local needs and capacities.

    A Type II community represents an autonomous, relatively isolated community with few vertical ties—an increasingly rare occurrence in the twenty-first century. While it has strong social capital, it suffers from a lack of bridging capital in terms of knowledge of and interaction with important external resources. Lacking a viable level of social capital, it has less chance to be able to influence the direction of development efforts and define how they are tied to disaster resiliency. Thus, it is more likely that such efforts will not be consistent with local needs and capacities.

    A Type III community has the advantage of at least having bridging capital with external aid programs. A Type IV community is confronted by significant obstacles to undertaking advancement of disaster resiliency initiatives as it is devoid of access to external resources. However, if vertical channels are activated, it still lacks a viable level of social capital for effectively making collective decisions on how to use external aid or influencing the goals and policy directions of development programs.

    Moreover, Type III communities and especially Type IV communities are likely to experience many of the conditions of CPEs that are in a constant state of conflict and extreme polarization. The principle of accountability lies at the heart of genuine partnership and participation in DRR. It applies to state institutions that are expected to be accountable through the democratic process and to private sector and non-profit organizations that are not subject to democratic control.

    Accountability is an emerging issue in disaster reduction work. Accountability should be primarily toward those who are vulnerable to hazards and affected by them. Many organisations working in international aid and development are now committing themselves to a 'rights-based' approach. This tends to encompass human rights i.

    Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Management

    In such contexts, the language of rights may be used vaguely, with a risk of causing confusion. Security against disasters is not generally regarded as a right although it is addressed in some international codes, usually indirectly. The idea of a 'right to safety' is being discussed in some circles. In a June study, researchers at the Overseas Development Institute highlighted the need for more focus on disaster risk management DRM in the international policy frameworks to be agreed in If this pattern continues, the researchers argue, then "spending on reconstruction and relief will become unsustainable.

    Further papers also highlighted the need to for strong gender perspective in disaster risk reduction policy. Studies have shown that women are disproportionally impacted by natural disasters. In March , the year-old Hyogo Framework came to an end and was replaced by the Sendai Framework. It sets out four priorities: understanding disaster risk; strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk; investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response, and to "Build Back Better" in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

    The Sendai document emerged from three years' of talks , during which UN member states, NGOs and other stakeholders made calls for an improved version of the existing HFA, with a set of common standards, a comprehensive framework with achievable targets, and a legally-based instrument for disaster risk reduction.

    Member states also emphasised the need to tackle disaster risk reduction and climate change adaption when setting the Sustainable Development Goals , particularly in light of an insufficient focus on risk reduction and resilience in the original Millennium Development Goals. Emergency preparedness has the potential to be transformative in presenting sustainable and functioning national systems that will reduce the cost of long-term response and relieve the increasing burden on the humanitarian system.

    However, emergency preparedness is largely underfunded. Where the financing does exist, it is complex, fragmented and disorganised. This is particularly the case for the international contribution, with various separate institutions, mechanisms and approaches defining where the funding is directed and how it is spent.

    A report by the Overseas Development Institute suggests that although there are advantages to improving existing financing mechanisms for emergency preparedness, it is not sufficient to simply reinforce the current system. Incremental changes will still leave gaps and a global solution should be considered to improve long-term disaster risk reduction.

    With the growth of interest in disasters and disaster management, there are many conferences and workshops held on the topic, from local to global levels. Regular international conferences include:. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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    The New York Times. Proposals for the current shift in paradigms'. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 15 1 : 58— International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 12 2 : — February American Behavioral Scientist. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. Retrieved 11 December Lists by death toll by cost. Landslide Avalanche Mudflow Debris flow Lahar. Seismic hazard Seismic risk Soil liquefaction.

    Volcano eruption Sinkhole. Coastal flood Flash flood Storm surge. Tsunami Megatsunami Limnic eruption. Cold wave Ice storm Hail Heat wave.