The double bind of poverty and community disaster risk reduction: a case study from the Caribbean

Ferdinand, Idelia, O'Brien, Geoff, O'Keefe, Phil and Jayawickrama, Janaka (2012) The double bind of poverty and community disaster risk reduction: a case study from the Caribbean. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 2. pp. 84-94. ISSN 2212-4209

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Disaster risk reduction (DRR) at the community level is usually addressed by forming community based disaster organisations and training persons in disaster management courses. The focus is mainly on the response phase of a disaster, but understanding the overall impact of disasters requires a more comprehensive approach.

This paper assesses the level of vulnerability and capacity in four Windward Island communities. This assessment is based on a questionnaires survey, of some 400 householders across four island States and 24 semi-structured interviews with key informants involved in community development and disaster management.

The findings show that, in general, there is a sense of community in the Windward Islands but a general lack of coordination and collaboration on issues related to disaster management. Where community organisations exist, they tend to work in isolation. Isolation exacerbates vulnerability.

Poor communities have strong mechanisms to manage disaster but these strong internal ties militate against broader community efforts to address DRR. Essentially poverty acts as a double bind. The double bind of poverty is the bind that ties poor people together in coping while simultaneously the coping mechanisms make a barrier for engaging with other organisation. The conclusion is that there is need for multi-stakeholder partnerships to reduce vulnerability and build resilience in communities.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Community, disaster risk reduction, vulnerability, resilience, Caribbean
Subjects: L700 Human and Social Geography
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Geoffrey O'Brien
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2012 14:29
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2020 16:04

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