The history of disasters is a reminder to human society that people have to live in the midst of nature’s fury in the 21st century. As the natural disasters increase, so too does the vulnerability of human society, more so due to the exponential population growth and the instabilities of global warming and climate change. Communities across the world face disasters often and they have to respond to it as and when they occur. There is differential experience of the impact of disasters by communities and this response to disasters, despite people’s limited knowledge and skill on risk and crisis management. The reasons for some communities better prepared, having better coping capacities and effective response measures than others in the face of disasters has often been the focus of a number of debates. The underlying fact based on empirical evidence is ‘Social Capital’, which can play stupendous role enabling individuals, families, groups and communities to work together to prepare for, respond to and recover from adverse impacts of disasters. Social Capital is seen as a resource and mediating factor in communities being better prepared in pre, during and post disaster situation. Many authors have emphasized that social capital plays a critical role in saving lives of most vulnerable people like women, children, elderly, sick and ailing, from the most deadly impact of disasters .
The major focus of this literature review is the role of social capital (i.e. individuals, families, groups, associations, organizations and community in particular) in disaster risk management in pre, during and post disaster situation. A major part of the literature stresses the importance of using pre-existing or established social networks (i.e. families, workplaces, associations, organizations, congregations, etc.) for successfully managing risk and crisis situation. This paper reviews the contribution of social capital with different empirical evidences from cases across the world. Case studies have been drawn as examples from different parts of the world and from author’s research to illustrate what it means in practice for communities to harness social capital in the face of disaster.
Published Date: 2021-09-07;