The Resilient Rural America: Drivers of Speedy and High Quality Recovery Following a Disaster (September 15, 2010-September 14, 2013; Partner Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign):

Despite a growing literature on disaster resilience, our understanding of what makes rural areas resilient remains limited. Existing literature mainly focuses on urban areas and characterizes rural areas as more vulnerable than urban areas without recognizing the possibility of rural resilience. Furthermore, there is a lack of robust and consistent indicators focusing both on the vulnerability and resilience of rural areas.

To address this gap, the main objective of the study is to advance scientific research on enhancing disaster resilience in rural areas. Its specific aims are to (1) develop an innovative, multi-faceted, place-based vulnerability and resilience index with an exclusive focus on rural areas (called the Rural Vulnerability and Resilience Index or RVRI in short); (2) identify the consequences of vulnerability and resilience in terms of disaster recovery (in the context of the 1993 Midwest Floods, 1996 Southern Plains Drought, and the 2005 Hurricane Katrina); and (3) develop policy options for rural areas on enhancing disaster resilience.

The Resilient Rural America project will significantly enhance the abilities of policy makers and practitioners in terms of assessing and comparing how disaster vulnerability and resilience change over time and across rural areas in the U.S. It will help them tailor policies to reduce the vulnerabilities of each rural area and make more informed funding allocation decisions at the state and federal levels to reduce disparities in preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation capacities.

Re-housing Urban Haiti After the Earthquake: Role of Social Capital (July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011; Partner Institution: Arkansas State University)

Despite an emerging literature regarding social capital in disaster recovery, the actual impact of social capital on the speed and quality of early post-disaster housing recovery is little understood. The objective of this project is to enhance scientific knowledge concerning the role of social capital, an important component of resilience, in the early recovery process following the January 12, 2010 Haiti earthquake in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The project has three specific aims: (1) Document the pre- and post-disaster social capital in three socio-economically diverse Port-au-Prince communities; (2) Document the housing recovery process in three selected Port-au-Prince communities; and (3) Assess the impact of pre- and post-disaster social capital on the speed and quality of housing recovery in these communities.

The study will involve two waves of data collection (a baseline and a follow up) spaced six months apart in Haiti. In each wave, the project team will conduct in-depth semi-structured interviews of policy makers/practitioners and community leaders, and facilitate focus groups with community residents. In addition, the team will employ participant observation in community and public meetings on post-disaster housing recovery. Lastly, the team will review secondary sources, including post-disaster housing recovery plans, newspapers, minutes of public meetings, laws and regulations, and other published documents.

The study will capture time-sensitive and perishable longitudinal data on the recent earthquake in Haiti, thereby contributing to knowledge on early post-disaster housing recovery, social capital, and resilience. It will enable policy makers to establish long-term recovery policies that take into account each community’s unique needs and capabilities rather than developing “one size fits all” policies to guide recovery interventions. Moreover, it will help identify the capabilities of selected Port-au-Prince communities.


Emotional Labor After the Haitian Earthquake: Haitian and International Disaster Relief and Early Recovery Workers in the Rubble (September 9, 2010-June 30, 2013; part of FIU's Haiti Initiative)

Although demand for emotional labor is perhaps at its highest in times of disasters, there is a lack of studies on emotional labor involved with disaster relief and early recovery workers. Even more scarce are studies that compare the emotional labor of disaster relief and early recovery workers who are native to the impacted region with that of members of the international aid community. Existing studies on disaster relief and early recovery workers mostly focus on their mental health status, including the prevalence of anger among them, their experience of distress and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.

In order to address the above mentioned gap in the literature, the proposed study will seek to answer the following questions: What are the differences between the perceptions of Haitian and international disaster relief and early recovery workers on emotional labor experienced in response to the recent Haitian earthquake? What kind of professional skills (including emotional regulation) do members of these groups find are necessary to deal with disaster victims on the ground during disaster response and in the early recovery period? What are the immediate and long term consequences of emotional labor for disaster relief and early recovery workers (e.g., in terms of PTSD, substance use)?

We expect that the findings of the study will help international aid workers and Haitian government officials better understand the emotional aspects of their work in disaster zones and provide them with basic guidelines on how to manage emotions in their day-to-day interactions with disaster victims during response and early recovery periods. The study will also inform researchers who specialize in disaster management, public health, public management, and human resource management by exposing them to the highly demanding emotional work undertaken by such workers and to the influence of culture on emotional labor. Lastly, a better understanding of such workers emotional work in the aftermath of disasters will help ensure the success of disaster relief and early recovery programs undertaken by national governments and international aid agencies.


Journal Articles

Ganapati, N. E. and A. Mukherji. Out of Sync: World Bank Funding for Housing Recovery, Postdisaster Planning and Participation. Natural Hazards Review (In Press).

Cheng, S., N. E. Ganapati and S. Ganapati. Measuring Disaster Recovery: Bouncing Back or Reaching Counterfactual State? Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy, and Management (In Press).

Rahill, G., N. E. Ganapati, C. Clerisme and A. Mukherji. Re-Housing Urban Haiti after the Earthquake: The Role of Social Capital. Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy, and Management (In Press).

Guy, M. E., M. A. Newman and N. E. Ganapati. Managing Emotions While Managing Crises. International Journal of Emergency Services (In Press).

Ganapati, N. E. 2013. Downsides of Social Capital for Women during Disaster Recovery: Towards a More Critical Approach. Administration and Society 45 (1): 72-96.

Ganapati, N. E. 2012. Measuring the Processes and Outcomes of Post-Disaster Housing Recovery: Lessons from Gölcük, Turkey. Natural Hazards 65 (3): 1783-1799.

Ganapati, N. E. 2012. In Good Company: Why Social Capital Matters for Women During Disaster Recovery. Public Administration Review 72 (3): 419–427.

Ganapati, N. E., I. Kelman, and T. Koukis. 2010. Analyzing Greek-Turkish Disaster-Related Cooperation as Part of the Rapprochement Process. Cooperation and Conflict 45 (2): 162-185.

Ganapati, N. E. 2009. Rising from the Rubble: Emergence of Place-Based Social Capital in Golcuk, Turkey. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters 27 (2): 127-166.

Ganapati, N. E. and S. Ganapati. 2009. Enabling Participatory Planning in Post-Disaster Contexts: A Case Study of World Bank’s Housing Reconstruction in Turkey. Journal of the American Planning Association 75 (1): 41-59.

Book Chapters

Ganapati, N. E. Linking Development to Disasters in Turkey: Moving Forward after the Marmara Earthquake. In N. Kapucu and T. Liou (Eds.). Disasters and Development (In Press).

Ganapati, N. E., S. Cheng, and S. Ganapati. 2012. Resilient Rural Communities? Housing Recovery Patterns Following Hurricane Katrina. In Kapucu, N., C. Hawkins and F. Rivera, Disaster Resiliency and Sustainability: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Routledge: 99-120.

    Ganapati, N. E. 2008. Disaster Management Structure in Turkey: Away from a Reactive and Paternalistic Approach? In J. Pinkowski (Ed.), Disaster Management Handbook, CRC Press: 281-320.