Socio-political Distancing Amid Disaster: Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh

Author:- Zakia Sultana, Pali Mondal, Tuhin Roy, Bangkim Biswas, Bishawjit Mallick
Category:- Journal; Year:- 2021
Discipline:- Sociology Discipline
School:- Social Science School


Social network plays a significant role in effective disaster management at the grassroots level. This study focuses on how the social distancing between the local leaders and ordinary citizens detangles disaster management politics in Bangladesh. Results are presented based on empirical evidence from southwest coastal Bangladesh, particularly in Dacope Upazila, applying a mixed-method approach. In January 2018, 190 respondents were interviewed based on random selection from the four villages of Sutarkhali union under Dacope Upazila, namely Nalian, Sutarkhali, Gunari, and Kalabogi. Besides, two focus group discussions (FGD), including ten respondents, and four key informant interviews (KII) were conducted purposively to know disaster politics. Results show that the socio-political distance between the local leader and ordinary citizens significantly influences getting post-disaster relief and rehabilitation supports. Those people engaged in local-level politics actively or somehow closely connected to local leaders get more relief than other people. Thus it shows that social supremacy still dominates the local decision-making processes. Much more attention needs to be placed on monitoring and evaluating relief and rehabilitation programs regularly to break such a traditional wall of ‘patron-client-relationship’ (i.e. connected or disconnected with local social-power) disaster management in the face of climate change.

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