Disaster Resilience and Shared Community

Disasters have been on increase in the entire world. For instance, in the past 20 years, different parts of the world have been hit by disasters, either man-made or natural which greatly impact people’s lives and can also lead to numerous economic losses. In attempt to recover from disaster, community resilience can highly be of great effect, even more than other obvious factors such as poor or lack of infrastructure. Saudi Arabia has been among the worst hit by disasters as it is widely known for both man-made and natural disasters, despite there being areas that are volcanic and others seismic. Research has it that disaster cases have increased tremendously in Saudi Arabia since 2000. Cases of disasters such as floods have been recorded, mostly in areas such as Makkah Province that is highly populated (Raphael & Ma, 2011).


Disaster refers to any serious disruption on the smooth functioning of a community or a society which causes large losses to human beings, materials, economy or the entire environment. These losses exceed the affected community’s or society’s ability to cope or come-back by use of their own, readily-available resources. It is therefore a function of the risk process which results from blending hazards, insufficiency and vulnerability capacity conditions or measure that helps in reducing the imminent negative risks or consequences. In general, resiliency refers to one’s ability to overcome all kinds of challenges that come on the way. They may include disasters, tragedy, life’s problems and personal crises. Disasters can be a challenge to every human population and adaptation’s aspect and in societal levels as well. It can also be at an individual or family life’s level across all cultures and nations. Resilience is further defined by a strong come-back from these challenges with more wisdom, strength and power. Disaster resilience refers to individuals, organizations, community and states’ ability to easily adapt and recover from shocks, stresses or hazards as a result of challenges without having to compromise on development’s prospects that are long-term (Alshehri et al, 2013).

Community resilience refers to a community’s sustained ability to recover from a disaster after withstanding from the same. Such disasters include natural or man-made disasters, economic stress and other pandemics. This represents a shift in paradigm in preparedness of public health emergency in putting emphasis on evaluation of the strengths evident in the community, not just vulnerabilities description (Folke, 2006).

Disaster resilience is very important in several ways. As evident from several countries that have applied disaster resilience before, the following benefits can be noted. It saves lives. Statistical evidence has it that prevention of disaster has assisted in limiting the loss of lives to disasters in many developing and developed nations. For instance, in Bangladesh, the fact that only few people were killed by the 2008 cyclone that the one in 1970 can be attributed to better prevention of disaster. It helps protect livelihoods and infrastructure. Evidently, the cost of damage on property from all disasters that have occurred between 1970 and 2008 is quite huge, but effective means of disaster prevention has prevented an upward trend of these cases. According to (Bosher & Dainty, 2011), disaster resilience protects social systems. According to a review of assistance by humanitarians given by the Red Cross after the 2004 tsunami along the Indian Ocean found that disaster resilience that is community based has a positive effect on resilience for the entire society through changing of behaviours and attitudes towards the same. It also helps in protecting the environment in that, increased disaster resilience has earlier on been associated with behaviours that tend to preserve the natural environment. For instance, in Honduras, building of resilience in the indigenous community led to slower destruction of the forest from 1994-2002. Also, at the Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopian borders, local approaches to resilience that are collaborative have helped in preservation of pastures and water resources. Finally, it also supports broader resilience in cases of violent conflicts or states that are fragile. The constraints and drivers that help in shaping resilience to hazards that are natural have large similarities to those that shape resilience for people in violent conflict or fragile states contexts. For instance, countries that have institution that perform well have a higher ability to both prevent disasters and reduce likelihood of conflicts that are disaster-related (Bosher & Dainty, 2011).

PPRR (preparedness, Prevention, Resilience and Recovery) can be applied in disaster reduction in psychological terms in a number of ways. To begin with, the prevention and preparedness bits are critical parts of the model for protecting communities, reducing impacts of disasters, thus reducing the costs for recovery of natural disasters. Both prevention and preparedness can be used in saving of money as they are critically important considerations when it comes to determining funding priorities for natural disasters. In (Folke, 2006), When better prevention and preparedness are applied at the level of an individual, household and community, it increases the resilience of the community, thus reducing the effect of the disaster, further lowering the social, psychological and monetary costs. Research has it that many physical and psychological consequences brought about by natural disasters are quite preventable. Therefore, the need to invest in phase activities with low cost preparation and preparedness arises alongside practice and other strategies that are low cost which leads to increase in benefits. It is evident that initiatives on preparedness and prevention have the capability to bring about a larger influence and cost effectiveness magnitude as compared to response for emergency and recover (Richard et al, 2003).


From the above, it is evident that it is every individual’s ultimate responsibility to improve and safeguard national resilience. Not even a single federal agency that owns all authority or responsibility of all skills that is appropriate in addressing this challenge that keeps drawing every day. The most important responsibility for increasing national resilience is accorded t the residents and their communities.  All levels of government’s guidance, input and commitment as well as from the private sector, community-based and non-governmental organizations and academia are all needed throughout the whole process of building communities that are more resilient. Increasing disaster resilience can therefore be said to be an imperative that needs every community member’s collective will as part of the nation. Even though disasters continue to occur every day, deeds that move the nation from disaster approaches that are reactive to proactive stance where there is active engagement of communities in the enhancement of resilience will lead to reduction of many of the wider economic and societal burdens that can be caused by  disasters. Practically, primary limitations of health departments in the implementation of resiliency within the community comes from challenges that come with the achievement of a cultural shift from a focus on bioterrorism and preparedness of individuals in orientation to an approach that is collaborative and community-partnered towards resilience (Alshehri et al, 2013).


Raphael, B., & Ma, H., (2011) Mass Catastrophe and Disaster Psychiatry in Molecular Psychiatry, Medical School, University of Western Sydney, NSW, Australia. Print.

Alshehri, S.A, et al. (2013) Community Resilience Factors to Disaster in Saudi Arabia: The Case of Makkah Province in Cardiff School of Engineering, Cardiff University, UK. Print.

Folke, C., (2006) ‘Resilience: The Emergence of a Perspective for Social-Ecological Systems Analyses’, Global Environmental Change. Print.

Bosher, L.& Dainty, A.,(2011). Disaster risk reduction and ‘built-in’ resilience:

Towards overarching principles for construction practice. Print.

Richard J.T. et al.,(2003) Resilience to natural hazards: how useful is the concept? Environmental  hazards. Print.

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