2006 Volume 15 Issue 1 Pages 39-58
More attention should be paid to the social aspects of disaster prevention projects that will be implemented through development assistance.
For the past 30 years, the rate of natural disasters has increased all over the world. The damage from these disasters has been remarkable in developing countries. Historically development assistance for disaster prevention and reconstruction has prioritized the construction of infrastructure and emergency aid. However, through the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (1990-1999) they have come to recognize the importance of social aspects of disaster. At the United Nations World Conference on Disaster Reduction (2005) they adopted Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015), incorporating the importance of developing and strengthening capacities at all levels, particularly at the community level, that can contribute to building resilience to natural disasters.
Drawing upon a field survey conducted in Japan, this paper demonstrates how the social aspects of community contribute to the development of regional capacity for disaster prevention. It also analyzes the result of a development study JICA carried out in Morocco and identifies some crucial factors that need to be considered in future development assistance projects.
The field survey was carried out in the southwestern part of Kochi Prefecture in Japan in an area that had been heavily damaged by a torrential downpour in 2001. Comparing two affected communities, the result of the study shows that building social capital contributes to developing capabilities for disaster prevention. Similarly, in JICA's development study for disaster prevention in Morocco, it is observed that social capital played an important role in the capacity for disaster prevention. The JICA study team's activities, in collaboration with local leaders, contributed to the enhancement of social capital.