The Legacy of Hurricane Mitch

Lessons from Post-Disaster Reconstruction in Honduras

Marisa O. Ensor (Author)
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Around the world disaster vulnerability is on the rise. The incidence and intensity of disasters have increased in recent decades with lives being shattered and resources being destroyed across broad geographic regions each year.

As it swept across the Honduran landscape, the exceptional size, power and duration of Hurricane Mitch abruptly and brutally altered the already diminished economic, social, and environmental conditions of the population. In the aftermath of the disaster a group of seven socio-environmental scientists set out to investigate the root causes of the heightened vulnerability that characterized pre-Mitch Honduras, the impact of the catastrophe on the local society, and the subsequent recovery efforts. Edited by Marisa O. Ensor, this volume presents the findings of their investigation.

The Legacy of Hurricane Mitch offers a comprehensive analysis of the immediate and long-term consequences of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras. Based on longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork and environmental assessments, this volume illustrates the importance of adopting an approach to disaster research and practice that places “natural” trigger events within their political, cultural, and socio-economic contexts. The contributors make a compelling case against post-disaster recovery efforts that limit themselves to alleviating the symptoms, rather than confronting the root causes of the vulnerability that prefigured the disaster.

“There are few works of such importance that detail the ongoing impacts of natural disaster events, let alone provide an assessment of country-wide impacts of a natural disaster. This book also provides a critical perspective on the failure of development strategies that proceed without consideration of potential vulnerabilities—both those created by development and those exacerbated by it. It also reveals the resilience of the poorest victims and provides lessons learned on adaptability and coping that force a re-examination of the very nature of resilience as defined by disaster response experts.”—Christopher Dyer
The Legacy of Hurricane Mitch
240 Pages 6 x 9 x 0.8 Published: 2009 Hardcover (9780816527847)

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