When a major landslide and floods devastated Freetown, Sierra Leone had just overcome the Ebola crisis, which had left its mark on socio-political relations between…
When a major landslide and floods devastated Freetown, Sierra Leone had just overcome the Ebola crisis, which had left its mark on socio-political relations between different disaster response actors. With international disaster response frameworks increasingly shifting to local ownership, the national government was expected to assume a coordinating role. However, in “post-conflict” settings such as Sierra Leone, intra-state and state–society relations are continuously being renegotiated. This study aimed to uncover the complexities of state-led disaster response in hybrid governance setting at national and community levels in the response to the 2017 landslide and floods.
During the four months of fieldwork in Freetown in 2017, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions with various state, aid and societal actors were conducted.
The findings show that a response to policy building on the idea of a uniform state response did not take into account intra-state power politics or the complexity of Sierra Leone's hybrid governance.
This paper argues for a more nuanced debate in humanitarian governance and practice on the localisation of aid in post-conflict and fragile settings.
The study's findings contribute to the literature on the disaster–conflict nexus, identifying paradoxes of localised disaster response in an environment with strong national–local tensions. The study highlights intra-local state dynamics that are usually overlooked but have a great impact on the legitimacy of different state authorities in disaster response.
The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates on the value of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction. Recent international policy papers advocate the…
The purpose of this paper is to contribute to debates on the value of indigenous knowledge for disaster risk reduction. Recent international policy papers advocate the importance of indigenous knowledge and calls for its recognition. The paper aims to explore these issues in the everyday practices of disaster response by indigenous peoples and surrounding actors.
The paper is based on a total of seven months ethnographic research in indigenous communities in Thailand and the Philippines. The Thai communities had experienced minor disasters, whereas the Philippine communities were recently hit by a major killer typhoon.
In both countries the authors found that indigenous knowledge is neither completely local, nor homogenous, nor shared. The findings caution against a view that indigenous knowledge is grounded in a long tradition of coping with disasters. Coping is embedded in social practice and responsive to change. Positive labelling of indigenous practices can help to render communities more resilient.
The research was exploratory in nature and could be replicated and expanded in other indigenous peoples’ communities.
Rather than understanding indigenous peoples as simultaneously vulnerable and resilient, it calls for a more comprehensive approach to indigenous knowledge and practices around disaster.
The limitations are shown of uncritically ascribing indigenous communities a close relation to nature. It may be unfounded and de-politicises indigenous struggles.
This paper approaches indigenous knowledge issues from the point of view of indigenous communities themselves.
The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of “resilience” by disentangling the contentious interactions of various parameters that define and guide…
The purpose of this paper is to advance the understanding of “resilience” by disentangling the contentious interactions of various parameters that define and guide resilience trajectories, such as the physical infrastructure, socio-spatial inequalities, path dependencies, power relationships, competing discourses and human agency. This socio-political reconstruction of “resilience” is needed for two reasons: the concept of resilience becomes more responsive to the complex realities on the ground, and the discussion moves toward the promotion of more dynamic recovery governance models that can promote socially just allocated redundancy in housing actions, which could be seen as a key to incubating resilience.
This is a conceptual paper that mobilizes theories of urban political ecology, social innovation and housing with the aim to examine the tensions between various discourses that steer housing production during post-disaster recovery processes, and put a spotlight on the heterogeneity in the transformative capacity of the various actors, institutions and visions of housing systems that preexist or emerge in the post-disaster city. This heterogeneity of actors (i.e. growth coalitions, neighborhood associations and housing cooperatives) consequently leads the discussion toward the investigation of “new” roles of the state in formulating relevant disaster governance models and housing (re)construction systems.
The initial stress produced by a natural event is often extended because of long-term unmet housing needs. The repercussion of this prolonged stress is a loss of social progress partly due to the reiterated oppression of alternative housing production propositions. In this paper, the authors conclude that an asset-based community development approach to recovery can provide an antidote to the vicious cycles of social stress by opening up diverse housing options. This means that the recovery destiny is not predetermined according to pre-set ideas but is molded by the various bottom-up dynamics that democratically sketch the final socially desirable reconstruction outcome(s).
The contribution of this paper is twofold. By using theoretical insights from urban political ecology, housing studies and social innovation, the paper first builds up onto the current reconstruction of the notion of disaster resilience. Second, by identifying a heterogeneity of “social resilience cells”, the paper leads the discussion toward the investigation of the “new” role of the state in formulating relevant recovery governance models. In this respect, the paper builds a narrative of social justice in terms of the redistribution of resources and the cultivation of empowerment across the various housing providers who struggle for their right to the reconstruction experiment.