The connections between disaster recovery and the resilience of affected communities have become common features of disaster risk reduction programmes since the adoption of The Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005–2015. Increasing attention is paid to the capacity of disaster-affected communities to recover with little or no external assistance following a disaster. This highlights the need for a change in the disaster risk reduction work culture, with stronger emphasis being put on resilience rather than just needs or vulnerability. The aim of this thesis is to determine the extent to which development and humanitarian interventions promote resilience in disaster-prone areas. Three case studies with elements of resilience building were examined in 2002, 2004 and 2005 using an evaluation framework. Survey and participatory interviewing methods involving more than 1200 participants were employed to gain insights from the implementation of: The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe; The Institutional Support Project in Ethiopia; and The Agricultural Rehabilitation Project in East Timor. There are no easy answers for enhancing disaster resilience through development and humanitarian interventions. However, four conclusions emerging from this study contribute to the emerging disaster resilience body of knowledge, spanning social science disciplines such as geography, environmental management and sociology. Firstly, disaster resilience is the ability to ‘bounce forward’ rather than ‘bounce back’ following a disaster. The notion of ‘bounce back’ implies the capacity to return to a pre- disaster state, which fails to capture the ‘new’ reality created by the disaster. ‘Bounce forward’ encapsulates community continuity within the context of changed realities brought about by the disaster. Secondly, resilience and vulnerability are confirmed as discrete constructs, the one not being the ‘flip side’ of the other. Thirdly, local resilience to disasters is about agency, albeit in a political and economic context. Community agency continuously creates and re-creates, and owns and controls the disaster institutional structures. Fourthly, resilience building resonates with the contiguum approach - it can occur at any phase or multiple phases of the disaster cycle. Thus, the process of resilience building does not necessarily need to adopt a ‘linear’ or continuum approach. The contiguum approach offers opportunities for linking (existing) resilience, relief, rehabilitation and development (LRRRD). Finally, on the basis of the author’s broader experience with similar evaluations elsewhere, the findings of this thesis are robust and generalisable and would not have been significantly different, if different case studies were used. Similarly, the focus of this thesis has been on structures and evaluation processes and outcomes; a different approach might have given rise to different findings.
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 19 Nov 2009|