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Influence of integrating disaster risk reduction within post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction on socio-economic development

Palliyaguru, RS


RS Palliyaguru


D Amaratunga


The trend of natural disasters has shown an unprecedented scale of increase during the last
few decades, causing massive human and property losses. This has resulted in an increase
of reconstruction, in both the housing and infrastructure sectors. Although, reconstruction
is presumed to be a window of opportunity created by tragic situation following a disaster
and it is also a tool to help reduce future disaster risks through particular attention to
various vulnerabilities, the developing countries would not reportedly use such
opportunities during reconstruction. In Sri Lanka, the initial restoration work of
infrastructure was completed within a relatively short period of time following the tsunami
2004 disaster. However, literature asserts that issues of varying vulnerabilities, people's
needs and access to infrastructures are not well articulated in post-tsunami infrastructure
reconstruction plans in Sri Lanka. Therefore, whether recovery is used to address
disparities in quality and access of infrastructure and services to communities and to what
extent infrastructure reconstruction would extend towards and deal with issues related to
infrastructure and services needs in poorer communities, reconcile environmental-
development complexities and link development to future disaster risk management, is
doubtable. On the other hand, reduction of disaster risk has become a 'must due' with
regards to the increased natural disaster losses. Whilst the need for reduction and
mitigation of natural disaster risks has been widely recognised all over the world,
achieving this ambitious goal has proven difficult in Sri Lanka. The concept of disaster
risk reduction is referred not only to physical/technical strategies but it includes a wider
array of strategies that involve solving much more complex political, social, economic and
environmental challenges. Disaster risk reduction initiatives are generally considered to
result in many development concerns. Moreover, literature suggests that development and
disaster management are both aimed at vulnerability reduction. It is further suggested that
reconstruction must take into account the implications in reducing disaster vulnerability in
the long-term. Therefore, exploring the influence of integrating disaster risk reduction
strategies within post-disaster reconstruction projects in overcoming the problems
mentioned above will be a more useful approach, and this has become the main focus of
this research.
The research developed a conceptual framework through literature reviews and pilot
interviews. This study adopts the social constructionism view in terms of its philosophical assumptions and the case study approach was selected as the main research approach.
Accordingly, a multiple case study approach was used and data was collected through
semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire survey conducted within two case studies,
semi-structured interviews conducted among policy makers and experts in the field of
infrastructure construction/reconstruction and disaster management in Sri Lanka and the
United Kingdom. While content analysis and cognitive mapping techniques were used for
the analysis of the semi-structured interviews, the descriptive statistics technique was used
for the analysis of the questionnaire survey.
Whilst revealing the different levels at which the concept of disaster risk reduction can be
applied within the infrastructure reconstruction sector, the study identifies the most
influential factors which lead to infrastructure reconstruction projects and communities
increasing vulnerability. As its main finding, the study reveals the ways in which
integration of disaster risk reduction strategies within post-disaster reconstruction projects
could contribute on the socio-economic development process. This was revealed by
identifying how integration of disaster risk reduction strategies within infrastructure
reconstruction projects could avoid those factors which lead to such vulnerabilities.
Moreover, the study reveals the gap between incorporating the concept of disaster risk
reduction within the national and intermediate-organisational level policies (protocols) and
the actual practice of disaster risk reduction at the infrastructure reconstruction project


Palliyaguru, R. Influence of integrating disaster risk reduction within post-disaster infrastructure reconstruction on socio-economic development. (Thesis). Salford : University of Salford

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Oct 3, 2012
Award Date Jan 1, 2010

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