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Social Capital and Post-Disaster Response and Recovery: Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh, 2009

Saha, Sebak

Description

This thesis explores the role of social capital at household level in the response and recovery process following Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh in 2009. The study focuses on the role of three forms of social capital - bonding, bridging and linking - in the response and in the economic, housing and psychological recovery processes of affected households. Social capital is conceptualised here as the resources available to households through social networks. Bonding social capital refers to the...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorSaha, Sebak
dc.date.accessioned2021-01-17T17:09:37Z
dc.date.available2021-01-17T17:09:37Z
dc.identifier.otherb71500674
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/219618
dc.description.abstractThis thesis explores the role of social capital at household level in the response and recovery process following Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh in 2009. The study focuses on the role of three forms of social capital - bonding, bridging and linking - in the response and in the economic, housing and psychological recovery processes of affected households. Social capital is conceptualised here as the resources available to households through social networks. Bonding social capital refers to the resources available through bonding networks (relatives); bridging social capital identifies resources available through bridging networks (neighbours, friends and acquaintances); and linking social capital covers resources available through linking networks (government and NGOs). The study is based on fieldwork in two Cyclone Aila-affected villages of Khulna District in Bangladesh. Employing a mixed methods approach, this study shows that bonding and bridging social capital play significant roles in evacuation and search and rescue activities. Though they both contribute to survival for only a very limited period, bonding social capital contributes to a greater proportion of households than bridging social capital. However, both forms of social capital play only a limited role in the longer-term economic and housing recovery process, though they do greatly contribute to the psychological recovery process of the members of the affected households. Bonding social capital also plays a more important role than bridging social capital in the response and recovery process. Crucially, bonding networks with relatives do not weaken over time, while bridging networks with neighbours, friends and acquaintances within the village tend to become less active and often break down over time. Affected households were unable to initiate recovery activities for a long period as their villages were subject to prolonged flooding due to breaches in the river embankment. Most households were unable to survive during this prolonged flooding period, either independently or with the material and monetary aid they received from their bonding and bridging networks. Instead, they were strongly dependent for their survival and recovery on resources accessed through linking networks with the government and NGOs. Although poverty and shared experience of the same disaster limit the capacity of bonding and bridging networks, this study argues that bonding and bridging networks cannot generally contribute to survival over longer periods or to substantial economic and housing recovery due to poverty, even in situations where relatives, neighbours, friends and acquaintances are not directly affected themselves. The relative wealth embedded in these networks is thus the critical factor in understanding their role in disaster response and recovery. The study concludes that households affected by cyclones in coastal areas of Bangladesh will generally require external assistance through linking social networks for their survival and economic and housing recovery. The study shows that the effectiveness of the post-Aila response and recovery operations of the government and NGOs was undermined by a number of serious weaknesses. The findings on the weaknesses of post-Aila response and recovery operations will be helpful for policymakers and development practitioners in designing more effective post-disaster response and recovery operations in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the future. Finally, the study recommends policies that will enhance the resilience of coastal households to cyclone hazards as well as help them to adapt to the adverse impacts of sea level rise in the short- and medium-term. The study also recommends the development of plans for resettling displaced populations in other places in the long-term, as sea level rise may force a large number of coastal households in Bangladesh to relocate elsewhere.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.titleSocial Capital and Post-Disaster Response and Recovery: Cyclone Aila in Bangladesh, 2009
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorBallard, Christopher
local.contributor.supervisorcontactu8502179@anu.edu.au
dc.date.issued2021
local.identifier.proquestYes
local.thesisANUonly.author28a4dc38-e78e-494b-bab4-2d64a2c9454b
local.thesisANUonly.title000000014371_TC_1
local.thesisANUonly.key6e8a6e1c-08e9-8e23-86f3-ca71fd833480
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