Disaster Resilience

Lead member: Durham University

MNU partners have substantial shared common ground in the field of disaster resilience, particularly in the area of practical disaster preparedness.  One topic of shared interest relates to ethical issues arising in this field, in respect of professional practice and research (including working with the public in community based settings/participative research), and the production of ethical guidelines for humanitarian aid workers, for first responders and for emergency planning exercises.  Another topic of shared interest relates to the complex nature of disasters and response.  Members are interested in enhancing knowledge about disasters considered in terms of different time scales as well as geographical scales, and the need to focus on ‘chronic’ disaster situations which evolve or persist over a long period as well as on ‘acute’, sudden crisis events.  Both have implications for insecurity in livelihoods (agriculture/tourism) and social cohesion and resilience.  Members also share a concern about how to respond to longer term impacts of disasters and reconstruction, e.g. psychological and economic impacts.

Following an initial workshop to explore this theme, a bid led by Dr Claire Horwell (Earth Sciences, Durham) on Health Interventions in Volcanic Eruption Crises, and including MNU partners in the team, was submitted to the Research on Health in Humanitarian Crises (R2HC) programme funded by Wellcome.  The bid to the first stage was successful and led to the award of a small grant to the group to support the preparation of a full proposal; this was submitted but a full grant was not awarded.  A joint paper has also been developed as a result of the initial workshop.