Local Science for Large Disasters

The earth produces a reliable stream of disasters. Some, like AIDS, are chronic; others, like earthquakes or hurricane Katrina, are sudden displays of natural force. In each case, it is expected that a well-financed relief effort will descend from a wealthier region. But importing assistance may not only be less effective; it might actually cause more damage in the long run.

When a tsunami hits, the first impulse is to bring in First-World experts. Rescue is the initial priority, followed by ensuring food, shelter, and medical aid. It is just a matter of getting things done, and it must be done the most effective way, so the operations occur according to the institutional philosophies of donor countries.

But siphoning the habits of one culture into another during a rebuilding process can trigger societal changes that are almost as damaging as the disaster itself, as happened in a small fishing villages in the Philippines in the late 1970’s.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/I3orZzR;