Caste, Ethnicity, Religious Affiliation and Disaster

Authored by: JC Gaillard

The Routledge Handbook of Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  March  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415590655
eBook ISBN: 9780203844236
Adobe ISBN: 9781136918698


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This chapter deals with how people of different ethnicity, caste and religious affiliation face the risk of, cope with and recover from disasters. Typical questions this chapter asks are why Indian lower castes continue to lack access to basic resources to face natural hazards in spite of the country’s significant progress in reducing the risk of disasters. Why were the black communities of Miami more severely impacted by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 than their white neighbours? To answer such questions, the chapter links up marginality and prejudice with the concepts of ethnicity, caste and religious affiliation, and with access to resources, capacity and vulnerability.

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