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Local understandings of community resilience in earthquake prone Nepal

RUSZCZYK, HANNA, ALINA (2014) Local understandings of community resilience in earthquake prone Nepal. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Local understandings of community resilience in earthquake prone Nepal

Hanna A. Ruszczyk

The concept of resilience is receiving increasing attention amongst academics, policy makers and practitioners. International frameworks have been developed; position papers drafted; and donor projects formulated with the aim of building community resilience. However this is being undertaken without a clear understanding of what community resilience is, if and how it can be enhanced, and how to measure the effectiveness of interventions with notable political and financial implications.

This thesis sets out to address this knowledge gap, by focusing on local understandings of community resilience to earthquakes in urban Nepal. Underpinned by theoretical engagement with everyday geographies, resilience research and disaster risk reduction, this research set out to address: 1. How is the concept of resilience understood by community members at the local level; and what, in local terms, are the characteristics or components of resilience. 2. How do local, academic and practitioner understandings of resilience vary. 3. Can resilience be enhanced or supported through external intervention? And if so, what form might these interventions take?

Drawing on interviews with a range of stakeholders, the findings highlight the importance of embedding earthquake risk reduction interventions in the everyday lived experience of urban communities as well as the importance of governance structures. However, how communities are defined in urban settings is complex, based on migration trends resulting in extended family networks between the rural and urban settings being viewed as important by the two urban wards. Understandings of resilience varied significantly between the academics, practitioner and local communities. While the case study communities were found to have a high level of resilience to everyday risks, building resilience to infrequent high magnitude events such as earthquakes requires local structures as well as support from local (ward and municipal level) and central government. This presents particular challenges due to fragmented governance arrangements in this post conflict state.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:resilience, community resilience, disaster risk reduction, urban, earthquakes, Nepal
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Geography, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Mar 2014 08:51

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