Cultural and religious belief systems, tsunami recovery and disaster risk reduction in American Sāmoa in the aftermath of the September 29, 2009 tsunami

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2012-05
Authors
McGeehan, Kathleen Marie
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
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Factors impacting a community's disaster vulnerability and recovery include: economic stability, socio-political structure, and cultural and religious values. These contextual factors impact the way communities: 1) interpret disaster; 2) recover; and 3) approach risk reduction. This qualitative study examined key factors in American Samoa after the 2009 tsunami, including: socio-political framework; role of faith; and influence of culture through interviews with village matai, congregation faife'au, and community members. Religious beliefs shaped event interpretation and recovery approach. Socio-political structures impacted distribution of aid and pre-tsunami disaster risk. Cultural values, including focus on strength, service to others, and future orientation facilitated recovery. Practices such as disinclination to criticize and avoidance of negativity may create barriers to reducing disaster risk. The findings of this study suggest that by capitalizing on community strengths and creating culturally relevant solutions to barriers, better postdisaster outcomes may be leveraged in this and other culturally diverse, hazard-prone communities.
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M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
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American Samoa, 2009 tsunami, culture, religion, disaster risk reduction
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Theses for the degree of Master of Arts (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Psychology.
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