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Disasters. 2012 Jul;36(3):365-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.2011.01267.x. Epub 2011 Nov 17.

Disaster risk reduction capacity assessment for precarious settlements in Guatemala City.

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  • 1The Resilience Institute, Huxley College of the Environment, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225, United States.


This study presents findings of an institutional capacity analysis of urban disaster risk reduction for informal settlements in the Guatemala Metropolitan Region. It uses a resource access perspective of vulnerability, actor-network theory, and qualitative data collection. The analysis reveals that there is interest in disaster risk reduction for the informal settlements; however, there is little in the way of direct financial or oversight relationships between informal settlement residents and all other actors. Respondents observed that informal settlements would probably remain inhabited; thus, there is a need for disaster risk reduction within these settlements. Disaster risk reduction capacity for informal settlements exists and can be further leveraged, as long as steps are taken to ensure appropriate access to and control of resources and oversight. Further, the nascent institutional arrangements should be strengthened through increased communication and coordination between actors, a decentralization of oversight and financial relationships, and mediation of identified resource conflicts.

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