This course aims to expose students to critical and practical approaches to the management of both natural and man-made disasters. The concept of disasters refers here to armed conflicts, geophysical events or other crises (such as famines, epidemics or rapid-onset climatic events) with a direct impact on peoples' lives (e.g. excess mortality or morbidity, forced displacement), while disaster management encompasses preparedness, warning, relief, recovery and reconstruction. Students will be introduced to a range of approaches to disaster management, from development-oriented disaster preparedness and reconstruction on the one hand to emergency responses predicated on humanitarian principles on the other hand.
While the articulation of crisis response mechanisms and institutions across different levels (local, national, regional and global) is key to effective responses, the course emphasises disaster management from a regional perspective. In particular, disaster response in Asia and by Asian countries will be examined through the lens of regional governance arrangements. The impact of the choices and preferences of major donors on such regional arrangements will be discussed.
The course requires students to apply concepts and methods across a range of contexts and types of crises. In so doing, the course aims to provide students with a clear understanding of the dimensions of disasters, particularly in Asia, and the skills required to successfully interact with professional disaster management teams across a wide range of settings.