Pandemics, floods, earthquakes, major accidents, war. The kinds of disasters that strike societies are extraordinarily different. Yet, they tend to share one common feature: they hit the poorest and most marginalized members of society the hardest. Sadly, all too often post-disaster response, recovery and rebuilding efforts disproportionately neglect and even harm those same groups.
The urgency of successfully protecting, supporting and involving the people most affected by these disasters has never been greater, particularly in light of the tragic earthquakes that have recently struck Turkey and Syria. In this webinar, Columbia World Projects (CWP) will center lessons learned from two initiatives. First is a just-published CWP report on Rebuilding Beirut: A Roadmap for an Equitable Post-Disaster Response, which details pathways for more inclusive recoveries in post-disaster settings, grounded in the experiences of Beirut in the wake of the city’s August 2020 port explosion. Second is the work of the New York City Pandemic Response Institute (PRI), a Columbia-CUNY partnership created in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic to support New York City agencies, organizations and communities to prevent, prepare, and respond to and recover from major public health threats, inclusive of pandemics, climate threats among others.
The webinar will put these examples from Beirut and New York City into a broader perspective on the challenges and opportunities of post-disaster response. It will address how to deliver lasting on-the-ground improvements that reduce immediate harms, restore communities, livelihoods, health and infrastructure and ensure that the most affected groups are significantly less vulnerable to the next disaster.
Participants include Wafaa El-Sadr (Columbia University), Ira Katznelson (Columbia University), Mona Fawaz (American University of Beirut) and Mitch Stripling (NYC Pandemic Response Institute).
This event has ended, you can watch a recording below: