Over the last few years, there has been an increase of research interest on the role of religion in disaster. While some emphasize the positive role of religions during and after disasters, others rather point out that religion may lead to low perception of risk and create a fatalistic attitude in the face of such events. The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the vivid debate on the role of religious beliefs and practices in disaster response and recovery, using the earthquake that hit Padang city in Indonesia in 2009.
A review of reports and policy documents published by the government and non-government organizations was done to understand external aid provided during and after the 2009 earthquake. Fieldwork was conducted from April to May 2016 in Padang city. Interviews were done with religious followers and leaders of the Muslim community, as the main religion in the country, and Confucians community, as the biggest minority in the area.
Drawing on interviews done with religious followers and leaders, the study highlights that religious beliefs and practices bond local people together and contributed to successful coping with disasters. It also emphasizes that religious communities can fill response and recovery gaps, such as when external intervention is limited.
Religious beliefs and practices, combined with other mechanisms, should be integrated within disaster risk reduction disaster management and activities as this would help build more resilient communities.
Indonesia is a country where religion is very important, being the biggest Muslim country worldwide. It is also highly vulnerable to natural-hazards related disasters. Yet, little research has been done in Indonesia on the role of religion during and after disasters. This paper aims to explore the role of religious beliefs and practices in disasters in the area where religion plays an important role in people’s everyday life.
The authors would like to thank the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affair and Trade for supporting this research through their ASEAN program. This paper is based on a Masters of Emergency Management dissertation. However, these works stand separate and are significantly different.
Gianisa, A. and Le De, L. (2018), "The role of religious beliefs and practices in disaster: The case study of 2009 earthquake in Padang city, Indonesia", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 No. 1, pp. 74-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-10-2017-0238Download as .RIS
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