Paper short abstract:
Large disasters have been at the forefront of climate change adaptation excluding smaller but more frequent disasters which cause much greater harm to people periodically. This paper attempts to theorise such everyday disasters with grounded evidence from Indian Sundarbans, a climate change hotspot.
Paper long abstract:
This paper introduces the concept and consequences of 'everyday disasters' - when regular oceanic processes such as tidal bores and high tides become more intense and catastrophic, destroying lives of those who live in low-lying coastal areas with striking regularity under the influence of climate change, with sea level rising at a rate higher than global average in the Bay of Bengal. Not classified as 'disasters' and thus unattended by local, national and international disaster management authorities, these events are engendering unprecedented tragedies for the poor, rendering structured adaptive governance futile.
Climate change adaptation processes with respect to large disaster events have been discussed considerably in the academic and policy literature. However everyday disasters, their impacts and governance in socio-ecological systems have not been studied within this discourse.
We analyse everyday disaster and their consequences focusing on one such event on July 12, 13 and 14 in Indian Sundarbans that made about 50,000 people homeless, forced them into near starvation for over three months. We elaborate how threats from the environment (and climate change) risk are extending to social ones and affecting dynamics of the socio-ecological systems; underscoring specific needs for governance processes and systems to target newly emerging environment-social risks. Thus we address two of the biggest gaps and areas of needed academic and policy work.
With extensive qualitative survey, media discourse analysis, snowball sampling, photographic and audio-visual evidence, collected from the region in July-September 2014, we find major institutional shortcomings in framing and governance of everyday disasters.
Understanding everyday perceptions: a new wave of climate change and migration research.