Risk, Resilience, and Response

Ronak B. Patel, Jami King, Laura Phelps, and David Sanderson. 10/2017. “Discussion Informed by Recurrent Lessons from a Systematic Review on Targeting Practices in Urban Humanitarian Crises.” PLOS Currents: Disasters. Read PublicationAbstract

Introduction: Urbanization has challenged many humanitarian practices given the complexity of cities. Urban humanitarian crises have similarly made identifying vulnerable populations difficult. As humanitarians respond to cities with chronic deficiencies in basic needs stressed by a crisis, identifying and prioritizing the most in need populations with finite resources is critical.

Methods: The full systematic review applied standard systematic review methodology that was described in detail, peer-reviewed, and published before the research was conducted.

Results: While the science of humanitarian practice is still developing, a systematic review of targeting vulnerable populations in urban humanitarian crises shed some light on the evidence base to guide policy and practice. This systematic review, referenced and available online, led to further findings that did not meet the pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria for evidence set out in the full review but that the authors, in their expert opinion, believe provide valuable insight nonetheless given their recurrence.

Ronak B. Patel and Leah Nosal. 1/2017. Defining the Resilient City. United Nations University Centre for Policy Research. Read PublicationAbstract
This background note is part of the United Nations University project on Resilience and the Fragile City and is meant to complement the paper ‘Conceptualizing City Fragility and Resilience’ (de Boer, Muggah, Patel 2016) which formally presents the fragile and resilient cities assessment framework. As resilience has become a more prominent and pervasive concept, this paper explores its application for urban environments in contexts of fragility (i.e. urban zones characterized by complex crises that often involve high levels of violence, extreme poverty, and disaster simultaneously) (see de Boer 2015). The paper reviews dozens of resilience frameworks and highlights a number of important findings: 1) the majority of existing resilience frameworks are useful for assessing resilience to natural disasters, yet few are effective in understanding resilience in contexts of fragility; and (2) many existing frameworks have yet to be empirically tested and largely rest on a Theory of Change. This means that very few indicators have been independently derived based on empirical data of what works. To fill these gaps, the paper concludes by proposing an approach to assessing resilience in contexts of urban fragility, which is then fully developed in the framework paper mentioned above.
Ronak B. Patel and Kelsey Gleason. 10/2017. “The association between social cohesion and community resilience in two urban slums of Port au Prince, Haiti.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. Read PublicationAbstract
Multiple recent global agendas have advanced the case for resilience to underpin humanitarian action and disaster risk reduction. These agendas have been incorporated into multiple efforts but evidence to guide action has lagged behind. This study examines a specific link, often cited through qualitative research, between social cohesion and community resilience in two urban slums of Port au Prince, Haiti. Scales to measure social cohesion and resilience are applied to these communities to develop a quantitative measure of these two characteristics. These two characteristics are then analyzed with various other demographic variables of community members to quantitatively explore associations among them. The results show that a higher social cohesion score is statistically associated with a higher resilience score and among the variables tested, social cohesion had the greatest impact on the community resilience as measured by these scales. and shows a statistical association between the two. The findings add to the growing but nascent literature on empirical evidence for resilience characteristics. Further examinations are drawn out of the findings and future investigations should tackle the inductively derived characteristics of resilience to further guide programs and policy.
International Committee Red of the Cross and Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 2/2018. Engaging with People Affected by Armed Conflicts and Other Situations of Violence: Recommendations for Humanitarian Organizations and Donors in the Digital Era.Abstract

ICRC & the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) launch a joint discussion paper that provides recommendations for humanitarian organisations and donors in today's digital era.

Based on a review of the relevant literature and interviews with representatives of the humanitarian sector, donors, and community-based organizations, the paper offers an overview of how the humanitarian community currently engages with people affected by armed conflict and violence; a review of the opportunities and challenges for meaningful engagement; and a series of recommendations for both humanitarian organizations and donors.

Program Resilient on Communities. 9/2018. Cordillera Administrative Region: Household Preparedness.Abstract
Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) has had a major impact on the north of the Philippines displacing more than 50,000 people in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and resulting in over PhP 14 billion in agriculatural damages (equivalent to approx. USD 270 million). The Philippines government and many national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be involved in the response. To help tailor the response it is useful to know what the level of preparedness for disaster was in Cordillera Administrative Region before the storm hit. The following statistics, compiled by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, were gathered between March and April of 2017.
Program Resilient on Communities. 9/2018. Cagayan Valley Region: Household Preparedness.Abstract
Typhoon Ompong (Mangkhut) has had a major impact on the north of the Philippines damaging in excess of 76,000 homes in Cagayan Province (Region II Cagayan Valley) and completing destroying more than 10,000 homes there. The Philippines government and many national and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will be involved in the response. To help tailor the response it is useful to know what the level of preparedness for disaster was in Cagayan Valley Province before the storm hit.
The following statistics, compiled by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, were gathered between March and April of 2017.
Jocelyn Kelly, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Courtland Robinson, and Michele R Decker. 4/2018. “From the battlefield to the bedroom: a multilevel analysis of the links between political conflict and intimate partner violence in Liberia.” BMJ Global Health, 3, 2. Read PublicationAbstract

Objectives Assess the link between levels of armed conflict and postconflict intimate partner violence (IPV) experienced by women in Liberia.

Methods Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project data were used to measure conflict-related fatalities in districts in Liberia during the country’s civil war from 1999 to 2003. These data were linked to individual-level data from the 2007 Demographic and Health Survey, including past-year IPV. Multilevel logistic models accounting for the clustering of women within districts evaluated the relationship of conflict fatalities with postconflict past-year IPV. Additional conflict measures, including conflict events and cumulative years of conflict, were assessed.

Results After adjusting for individual-level characteristics correlated with IPV, residence in a conflict fatality-affected district was associated with a 50% increase in risk of IPV (adjusted OR (aOR): 1.55, 95% CI 1.26 to 1.92). Women living in a district that experienced 4–5 cumulative years of conflict were also more likely to experience IPV (aOR 1.88, 95% CI 1.29 to 2.75).

Conclusion Residing in a conflict-affected district even 5 years after conflict was associated with postconflict IPV.

Policy implications Recognising and preventing postconflict IPV violence is important to support long-term recovery in postconflict settings.

Phuong Pham and Patrick Vinck. 2/2018. “Human Rights and Mixed Methods.” Chance, 31, 1, Pp. 29-37. Read PublicationAbstract
Research in the field of human rights can have many goals. Among others, it serves to uncover and document evidence of crimes, seeks to tell the stories of victims and survivors, and strives to inform and influence policies and strategies to deal with human rights violations. Most commonly, it is defines as seeking to uncover "the truth" - what happened, to whom, by whom, where, when, how, and how many were effected. 
Beth J. Maclin, Hannah Wild, Nirma D. Bustamante, and Ronak B. Patel. 12/2017. Investigating Gender Based Insecurity & Mobility: Addis Ababa Country Report.Abstract

This study of gender based insecurity in Addis Ababa found that women and girls are vulnerable in public and private spaces at any time to assault and harassment, though they are at greater risk for physical violence, including rape, at night. They sacrifice time, money, education, socializing, and their mental health to mitigate the risks they face moving around their community and the city.
Overall, men commit almost all of the violence described by participants. Much of the insecurity is blamed on unemployed young men that abuse drugs and alcohol. Some also linked unemployment with massive migration from other areas of the country to Addis Ababa. Two cultural factors seem to inform violence against women. First, society normalizes men and boys touching and saying inappropriate things to women and girls, which then leads to increasingly violent forms of abuse. Additionally, limited police response to gender-based violence creates a culture of impunity, which furthers a cultural acceptance of violence against women. Several strategies that draw from participant coping strategies and an analysis of the sources of insecurity can be explored and are detailed at the end of this report.

This formative research seeks to determine the experiences, sources and effects of GBV and GBI among the urban extreme poor of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the goal of informing the development of a pilot survey instrument to measure the prevalence and impact of GBI in selected urban slums of the same three cities. 

Ronak B. Patel, Beth J. Maclin, Nirma D. Bustamante, and Hannah Wild. 12/2017. Investigating Gender Based Insecurity & Mobility: Multi-City Report.Abstract

Rapid urbanization is the most significant demographic shift taking place. By the year 2050, it is predicted that 70% of the world population will be urban. The urban poor live in a state of chronic crisis and reside in extremely dense informal settlements without basic infrastructure or services. High levels of insecurity are of particular concern. Due to their unofficial status, density, high concentrations of poverty and, often, high turnover, urban informal settlements are either extremely difficult to police or effectively remain un-policed and ungoverned. While all residents of urban informal settlements face significant insecurity and susceptibility to violent crimes, women are especially vulnerable. 

This formative research seeks to determine the experiences, sources and effects of GBV and GBI among the urban extreme poor of Dhaka, Bangladesh; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the goal of informing the development of a pilot survey instrument to measure the prevalence and impact of GBI in selected urban informal settlements of the same three cities. 

Susan Andrea Bartels, Saja Michael, Sophie Roupetz, Stephanie Garbern, Lama Kilzar, Harveen Bergquist, Nour Bakhache, Colleen Davison, and Annie Bunting. 1/2018. “Making sense of child, early and forced marriage among Syrian refugee girls: a mixed methods study in Lebanon.” BMJ Global Health, 3, 1. Read PublicationAbstract

The Syrian conflict has resulted in over 2.3 million child refugees in the Middle East and the prevalence of early marriage has reportedly increased among displaced Syrian families. This study explores the underlying factors contributing to child marriage among Syrian refugees in Lebanon with the goal of informing community-based strategies to address the issue.

In July–August 2016, trained interviewers collected self-interpreted stories in Lebanon using Cognitive Edge’s SenseMaker, a mixed-method data collection tool. Participants included married and unmarried Syrian girls, Syrian parents as well as married and unmarried men. Each participant shared a story about the experiences of Syrian girls and then interpreted the story by plotting their perspectives on a variety of questions. Patterns in the responses were analysed in SPSS and the accompanying qualitative narratives were reviewed to facilitate interpretation of the quantitative results.

Vincenzo Bollettino, Tilly Alcayna, Krish Enriquez, and Patrick Vinck. 6/2018. Perceptions of Disaster Resilience and Preparedness in the Philippines.Abstract

The Philippines is one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries. Located along the boundary of major tectonic plates and at the center of a typhoon belt, its islands are regularly impacted by floods, typhoons, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, and droughts. The Philippines also ranks among the top three countries in the world for population exposure and vulnerability to hazards. The Philippine government has developed strong coping mechanisms over their long history of experience with disasters. Yet, significant gaps remain in disaster management capacities across different regions of the Philippines and surprisingly little data are available referencing local levels of disaster resilience and preparedness.

This research aims to address the gap in knowledge on both local disaster resilience and preparedness by providing a comprehensive overview of household measures of resilience and levels of disaster preparedness. This is the first nationwide household survey on measures of disaster resilience and disaster preparedness carried out in the Philippines. It comes at a time of critical importance as efforts are being made to ensure disaster management is based on evidence, especially at the local level and amid national discussions on centralizing disaster resilience efforts under a single national agency.

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Ronak B. Patel. 12/2018. “Precision Health in Disaster Medicine and Global Public Health.” Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 33, 6, Pp. 565 - 566. Read PublicationAbstract
Current debates about precision medicine take different perspectives on its relevance and value in global health. The term has not yet been applied to disaster medicine or humanitarian health, but it may hold significant value. An interpretation of the term for global public health and disaster medicine is presented here for application to vulnerable populations. Embracing the term may drive more efficient use and targeting of limited resources while encouraging innovation and adopting the new approaches advocated in current humanitarian discourse.
Ronak B. Patel and Jay Chadhuri. 3/2019. “Revisiting the Sphere standards: comparing the revised Sphere standards to living standards in three urban informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya.” Journal of International Humanitarian Action, 4, 6. Read PublicationAbstract
Humanitarian actors have long used the Sphere Handbook and its minimum standards to guide operational practice. The new revision attempts to update these standards partly to address urban crises that have challenged the humanitarian system. Yet, these indicators have never been based on a substantial body of evidence or data from the varied living standards found in cities or specifically informal settlements. This study aims to contextualize the Sphere standards for urban populations by comparing a sample of the revised key indicators to living standards in three urban informal settlements of Nairobi, Kenya, during a non-crisis period to examine their relevance and applicability, and discuss the implications.

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