Climate-Related Disasters: Humanitarian Challenges and Reconstruction Opportunities08/10/2008 - by Pablo Suarez, Graham Saunders, Sandra Mendler, Isabelle Lemaire, Jorge Karol, and Laura Curtis
Humanitarian organizations, and the vulnerable communities they serve, are dealing today with the life-threatening consequences of poor design and planning. Climate change is not only taking place but also quite literally “taking places”, imposing more frequent and intense events such as floods, hurricanes, droughts, and heat waves on built environments and people that are not prepared to deal with them. Staff and volunteers working in disaster management are at the forefront of the current climate crisis, but the complex relationships between place and climate require that humanitarian organizations rethink the way they will work in the future. They must forge new partnerships that address the root causes of the problem: not just by reducing the emissions that result in global warming, but also by reversing the social construction of vulnerability.