How do you build back better so no one is left behind? Lessons from Sint Maarten, Dutch Caribbean, following Hurricane Irma

Collodi, Jason; Pelling, Mark; Fraser, Arabella; Borie, Maud and Vicenz, Simone (2021). How do you build back better so no one is left behind? Lessons from Sint Maarten, Dutch Caribbean, following Hurricane Irma. Disasters, 45(1) pp. 202–223.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/disa.12423

Abstract

The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals call for action to build back better in ways that leave no one behind. At the same time, ensuring a local voice is increasingly central to humanitarian engagement. These aims contrast with limited analysis of how local actors might be supported in these respects during response and recovery, and how far recommendations are specific or generalisable across richer and poorer national contexts. The paper begins by comparing lessons learnt by survivors and community organisations in Sint Maarten, Dutch Caribbean, following a high-income state-led response to Hurricane Irma in 2017 with the priorities of lower income, humanitarian-led endeavours. The differences reveal the importance of economic resources as the basis for individual self-reliance and a fragmented civil society with limited leadership ambitions in Sint Maarten. Strong cross-cultural alignment nevertheless allows for a globally-relevant and yet contextually-sensitive framework for survivor-led action and reconstruction.

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