Fostering Community Capacity to Enhance Disaster Resilience

Call for papers for: Continuity & Resilience Review

Guest Editors:

Arvind Upadhyay, University of Brighton, Brighton, UK (Lead Guest Editor)

Agung Sutrisno, Sam Ratulangi University, Indonesia

Amporn Sa-ngiamwibool, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, Thailand

Submission window: 15 December 2020-15 March 2021

Disasters emerge everywhere and the worldwide evidence of disasters has shown devastative effects not only on the people but also on the whole community and its ecological systems.  The world is increasingly becoming more vulnerable to natural disasters which have caused widespread environmental hazards to the wellbeing of the whole community area and its eco-systems. Our communities, therefore, need to be more resilient to natural disasters and resilience is the stability of ecosystems in our communities. 

The term “resilience” derived from the Latin word “resiliere” means “to jump back” (Klein et al., 2003; Paton & Johnston, 2006). The concept of resilience originates from the field of ecology. Holling (1973) first defined the concept of resilience after publishing his article entitled “Resilience and Stability of the Ecological Systems” for an ecosystem as the capacity of an ecosystem to absorb changes and the capacity of a system to absorb the ecological disturbance and return to its normal stability or equilibrium after a temporary disturbance. Most researchers defined the term “resilience” as the capacity of people, population, groups, a community or society, a system, agencies, infrastructure and ecosystem to potentially: cope with unanticipated dangers after they have become manifest, learning to bounce back; withstand or recover from the emergencies and which can stand as a counterbalance to vulnerability; withstand an extreme natural event without suffering devastating losses, damage, diminished productivity, or quality of life without a large amount of assistance from outside the community; adapt existing resources and skills to new systems and operating conditions; exploit opportunities and resist and recover from negative shocks;  cope with or adapt to hazard stress; cope with external stresses and disturbances as a result of social, political and environmental change, resourcefulness and growth to function psychologically at a level far greater than expected given the individual’s capabilities and previous experiences; expose to hazards to adapt, by resisting or changing in order to reach and maintain an acceptable level of functioning and structure. This is determined by the degree to which the social system is capable of organizing itself to increase this capacity for learning from past disasters for better future protection and to improve risk reduction measures; prevent or protect against significant multi-hazard threats and incidents, including terrorist attacks, and expeditiously recover and reconstitute critical services with minimum damage to public safety and health, the economy, and national security; anticipate, prepare for, respond to and recover from a disturbance; reduce vulnerability and prevent or mitigate loss and then secondly, if damage does occur to maintain normal condition as far as possible, and thirdly to manage recovery from the impact; returns to normal (i.e. equilibrium) rapidly afterwards or at least does not easily get pushed into a new alternative equilibrium.  Others define it as the measure of how quickly a system recovers from failures and how well people and societies can adapt to a changed reality and capitalize on the new possibilities offered.

The concept of disaster resilience has become popular and been introduced to many fields after the adoption of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters (Manyena, 2006). The disaster resilience, therefore, becomes our common concerns for survival in the future, it is the responsibility of the whole community to cope with disaster resilience and prevent ones in the future. Building community capacity and fostering the community‐level capacity to enhance disaster resilience, is therefore vital for disaster preparedness and response.  

Current research (e.g. Miles, S. B., 2015; Gil‐Rivas, V., & Kilmer, R. P., 2016; Sippel, L. M., Pietrzak, R. H., Charney, D. S., Mayes, L. C., & Southwick, S. M., 2015) suggests the importance of focusing on bolstering resources to enhance wellness and facilitate individual and community resilience in the face of disaster and recommend community‐level intervention, preparedness and response to build community capacity and promote disaster resilience. For example, Gil‐Rivas, V., & Kilmer, R. P.(2016)   advocate for using an ecological framework grounded values such as collaboration, social justice, empowerment, and an appreciation of diversity to guide disaster work with communities. To foster wellness of communities, disaster resilience and disaster prevention, a variety of means, methods, interventions and management are proposed, including Big Data, informational capital, integrated approach, integrating hazard and risk knowledge, risk management, risk mapping, emergency management networks, guiding tools, community case study, lessons from neighbouring areas, a conceptual framework, concepts and indicators, risk reduction system, and social cohesion.

In practice, to understand how communities are potentially exposed to hazards and

capable of managing and organizing themselves and how they learn from the past and present disasters and environmental hazards and reduce their risks to the future ones.  Core elements of disaster resilience that need to be taken into account to foster community capacity to enhance disaster resilience are context, disturbance, capacity to respond and reaction (DFID, 2011a, 6-7). Based on these core elements, this project will draw a wider range of scientific information with focuses on these areas:

  • Short-term and long-term scientific and technical capacity, impacts and underlying impacts on disaster resilience, resource degradation, environmental change and ecological and socio-economic and cultural transformation that the community aims to be resilient to in existing disaster and disaster-prone areas, landscapes or communities.
  • Ecological and human system, process, exposure, shocks and stresses, the system collapses, catastrophic reduction, incapacity to cope with the future and possible risk prevention to the worst-case scenario in existing disaster landscapes or communities vulnerable and disaster-prone areas.
  • The role of community involvement, awareness, culture and attitudes and motivation, cohesion and awareness of the community in response to disaster resilience and disaster preparedness.
  • Capacity, means, methods, interventions and management of communities to manage and organize themselves to learn from the present and past disasters and adaptive capacity to foster wellness of communities, disaster resilience and disaster prevention and prepare for the future, reduce future risks and vulnerability.
  • Community case study, approaches and lessons from neighbouring areas, community competence in risk management; factors, concepts and indicators of risk and resilience, risk reduction system, community cohesion, trust, social connections and networks, communication, public discussion and awareness, innovation about risks ad resilience that enable or inhibit disaster resilience in the case study.

Please direct any questions to Arvind Upadhyay:  [email protected]

Submission information

Submissions can be made between 15 December 2020 and 15 March 2021. Submissions should be made via the journal’s online submission system at

Please select this special issue from the drop-down menu provided during submission. Prior to submitting your paper please review  the journal’s author guidelines at


Burnard, K.J. and Bhamra, R. (2019). Challenges for organisational resilience. Continuity & Resilience Review, Vol. 1 No. 1, pp. 17-25.

DFID (2011a). Defining Disaster Resilience: A DFID Approach Paper. DFID.


Gil‐Rivas, V., & Kilmer, R. P. (2016). Building community capacity and fostering disaster resilience. Journal of clinical psychology72(12), 1318-1332.

Holling, C.S. (1973). Resilience and stability of ecological systems. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 4, 2-23.

Klein, R.J.T., Nicholls, R. J., & Thomalla, F. (2003). Resilience to natural hazards: How useful is this concept? Environmental Hazards, 5, 35-45.

Manyena, S.B. (2006). The Concept of Resilience Revisited. Disasters, 30(4), 434–450.

Miles, S. B. (2015). Foundations of community disaster resilience: Well-being, identity, services, and capitals. Environmental Hazards14(2), 103-121.

Paton, D. & Johnston, D. (2006).Disaster resilience: An integrated approach. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Sippel, L. M., Pietrzak, R. H., Charney, D. S., Mayes, L. C., & Southwick, S. M. (2015). How does social support enhance resilience in the trauma-exposed individual?. Ecology and Society20(4).