Architects of our own survival

Can authorities empower individuals and communities by building resilience through self-reliance in the face of impending seasonal natural disasters?

Authored by: Kathryn M. Gow , Francine M. Pritchard

The Routledge International Handbook of Psychosocial Resilience

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138954878
eBook ISBN: 9781315666716
Adobe ISBN: 9781317355946

10.4324/9781315666716.ch33

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Abstract

While the disaster research focus has primarily been on recovering from natural disasters in communities and rebuilding, less effort has concentrated on preparedness for disasters up until the past few years. Of the investigations and research that have been undertaken around the world, and across the multiple kinds of natural disasters that world citizens in this century are being exposed to, the results are mixed with respect to preparedness of both individuals and communities. Undoubtedly, the variations are influenced by the regularities of a specific type of disaster such as floods in Bangladesh, bushfires in Australia, drought in Africa, cyclones and typhoons in Asian and Pacific islands, tornadoes in the USA, and earthquakes in Turkey and the Ring of Fire 1 in the Asia Pacific areas. It is imperative to ascertain the circumstances under which individual communities appear to be continuing to be ill prepared or well prepared for such events and which communities lack the requisite available resources (e.g. the aboriginal communities of Elcho Island, Milingimbi, Ramingining and Maningrida did not have sufficient resources when the cyclones hit). Recent events and preparedness scheduling in Australia are showcased to highlight what strategies worked under which conditions and locations in Queensland in the immediate hours and days following recent catastrophic disasters.

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