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(In)Visibilization through decolonial delinking? Disrupting the permanently neglected disaster at the border of Colombia and Ecuador

Johannes M. Waldmueller (Universidad de Las Américas (UDLA), Quito, Ecuador)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 17 July 2020

Issue publication date: 30 November 2020




The geopolitical relevance of the region with regard to clandestine and market interests exerting ecological pressures over mangroves and artisanal fishing thus raises awareness with regard to the local disaster's potentially global dimension. Delinking thus suggests divergent visibilization strategies regarding the narratives and framings of the region.


Reflecting on previous ethnographic and quantitative research on the impacted livelihoods in the Canton of Muisne (Ecuador) in the aftermath of the earthquake of April 2016, this article explores some disruptive dimensions of the permanent disaster in the predominantly black Ecuadorian–Colombian border region.


By drawing on decolonial theory, as well as by shifting between a mainstream narrative of the disaster, on the one hand, and a “delinked narrative,” on the other, this article is in line with more recent publications arguing that neither local and time bound accounts of vulnerability, ethnicity and (in)visibility, nor mainstream depictions of a “lack of development” are able to generate the required knowledge to disrupt from this permanently neglected disaster.


In order to understand the disaster beyond its ostensibly local dimension, economic, environmental, as well as the geopolitical considerations are suggested, resulting in a different framing of the disaster.



The author expresses his gratitude to the local communities for sharing their knowledge, as well as to the anonymous reviewers.Funding: Funding grant: CIP.JW.18.01. (UDLA).


Waldmueller, J.M. (2020), "(In)Visibilization through decolonial delinking? Disrupting the permanently neglected disaster at the border of Colombia and Ecuador", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 929-942.



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