Disaster affecting families' values and belief systems


Miller (for literature reference see original source document) describes some of the common disaster impacts on families. Shared belief systems can become strained as individuals rationalise the events in different ways (e.g. losing or strengthening faith); family separations impact on roles and responsibilities so that perhaps different family members have to become the main breadwinner; and resettlement can mean the family becomes separated as family members search for work. Reid describes how family structure and composition influence social vulnerability and can be both a hindrance and a resource when a disaster occurs. Large families may be more vulnerable because of the number of people to provide for, but “may also be a resource when more formal assistance is not adequate”. Family units can be made up of a huge range of people and the interpretation of the word “family” also means different things in different societies. They also vary in their value systems. The core processes and other dimensions such as communication styles, relational patterns, routines or gender roles can become useful mechanisms for building capacities and resilience across all stages of a disaster.

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