Opportunities for Sustainable Community Development in the Wake of Disaster Situations: Lessons from the Field

By Roni Kaufman, Amos Avgar and Julia Mirsky.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The paper focuses on development of sustainable post-disaster intervention strategies, and guidelines for implementation. It proposes the examination of post-disaster rescue, relief, recovery and reconstruction phases as a continuum, based on the assumption that each phase presents opportunities for community development. It advocates that local as well as international organizations should be both responsive to immediate needs and pro-active, to facilitate sustainable community development processes. It hones in on the practical question: how can various change agents ensure that the window of opportunity that opens following a disaster is actualized and also generates sustainable development. It presents several physical and socio-political “opportunities” and suggests an analytical framework. The identified physical and socio-political opportunities include: planning and zoning, technological innovations, community integration, inter-group conflict, long term development and disaster management. The analytical framework comprises the following components: solidarity, integration, linkages, social entrepreneurship, leadership, and community development vision. In order to identify and illustrate opportunities and factors, data have been gathered from post-disaster interventions following the Tsunami in India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Indonesia (2004); the earthquake in Pakistan (2005); the cyclone in Myanmar (2008); and the floods in Bangladesh (2008).
The paper concludes with recommendations for community practitioners.

Keywords: Community and Social Sustainability, Post-disaster Development, NGOs, Tsunami, Disaster Management

The International Journal of Sustainability Policy and Practice, Volume 11, Issue 2, June 2015, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 616.877KB).

Prof. Roni Kaufman

Chair, MSW Program, Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bear Sheva, Israel

Dr. Amos Avgar

Chief Operating Officer, Tag International Development, Tag International Development, London England, Jerusalem, Israel

Julia Mirsky

Chair, Department of Social Work, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Bear Sheva, Israel