Global Gathering Key Ideas: Disasters

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11 months ago
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How Can ABCD Support Communities Before, During, And After Disasters?

Back in May 2022, we held two ABCD Global Gatherings that focused specifically on disasters, with Steve Kretzmann (USA) and Michelle Dunscombe (Australia). The main question we explored was How Can ABCD Support Communities Before, During, And After Disasters?

Some of the key ideas that were explored included:

* When an emergency occurs, it's too late to start building community. Don't wait for a disaster or emergency to build community. Community building comes before an emergency. 

* Having said that, it's important to just start now with what you have. Find the assets in the community, connect and mobilize them. If you have strong community and strong relationships, you don't necessarily need an emergency management plan. Without a strong community and strong relationships, the most elaborate emergency management plan won't help.

* With all that in mind, it's important to build trust, deal with issues of systemic oppression and inequity. Work to remove stigma, such as home owners are treated differently than renters. Have conversations about gifts. Help people identify what it values as a community. 

* When disaster strikes, remember to hold people in their trauma. 

* Focus on relationships. They are the most important ingredient before, during, and after disasters.

Some resources mentioned during the Global Gathering:

“But it is not bureaucrats who will be the first-responders when the next disaster, whether brought by terrorists or some other agent, comes. It won’t even be the police or firefighters. It will be our neighbors, it will be the strangers in the next car, it will be our family members.” ~ Lee Clarke, disaster sociologist

Whether you attended the ABCD Global Gatherings on this question or not, feel free to share your thoughts, questions, and resources on this topic below.



Deb Wisniewski

Lead Community Host, ABCD in Action

updated by @abcd-in-action: 07/01/22 02:30:05PM