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Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience


Through the Earthquakes Without Frontiers project (EwF) IHRR is working with the China Earthquake Administration, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Gender Development Solutions (GDS), and World Vision to help build resilience to future earthquakes in China.

Community responses in disaster situations can be highly complex and situational. The effectiveness of “top-down” assistance from organisations such as aid agencies, donors and government needs to be maximised by appropriate engagement at the community level. Social workers, and fellow professionals in the practice and research-informed social sciences, are often among the first responders to an emergency. The role which these professionals can play in disaster response may to date have been under-realised.

Pioneering interdisciplinary work based at Durham University (the Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience and the School of Applied Social Science) is developing the potential which these professionals have to improve response to disaster situations, and to support more sustainable and effective consequent development that draws upon the strengths of the people living in disaster-affected communities.

Prof Lena Dominelli, Co-Director of IHRR, is working with colleagues in China to develop a preparation strategy for earthquakes, and training for people in earthquake risk reduction and risk management.

Read more about community development in disaster situations here.