Harvard study result shows people with most aid after disaster more resilient for future calamities

/ 04:11 PM July 11, 2019

MANILA, Philippines—People in regions that received the most help following a disaster tend to be the most resilient in future calamities, according to a Harvard research work made public on Thursday (July 11).

Results of a survey done by Harvard Humanitarian Initiative ’s (HHI) Program on Resilient Communities (PRC) in 2017, Western Visayas showed the highest level of self-rated resilience, followed by the regions of Ilocos, Eastern Visayas, Mimaropa, Bicol, Caraga, Cagayan Valley and Davao.


These regions also had the most persons who obtained aid.

In Eastern Visayas, the HHI research said, 92 percent of residents received aid following the destruction wrought by super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) in 2013.


In Western Visayas, 88 percent of residents got aid; Bicol, 87 percent; Ilocos, 83 percent; Caraga, 75 percent; Cagayan Valley, 70 percent and Davao, 56 percent.

Zamboanga Peninsula and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) had the lowest levels of disaster resilience the smallest amount of aid. Only 26 percent of residents in Zamboanga received help, while the numbers in ARMM (37 percent) and Northern Mindanao (50 percent) did not fare better.

“It is interesting to see that regions reporting higher levels of post-disaster assistance also report higher levels of disaster resilience,” said HHI PRC program director Vincenzo Bollettino in a statement.

“This begs the question of why this is the case and merits closer investigation,” he added.

These figures were based on a face-to-face survey of 4,368 Filipino adults nationwide from March to April 2017, representing their corresponding region of residence.

Reliance was defined by the Harvard study as a “measure of a society’s ability to withstand shocks and recover from these shocks in a timely manner”, and a community’s “ability to adapt to changes in the environment and to the types of risks they face”.

HHI-PRC admitted that the measures of resilience may not be absolutely accurate as it relied on resident’s self-assessment. But study proponents said the results offered an insight on long-term responses to disaster.


Majority of Filipinos say they are self-reliant in preparing for a disaster (64 percent), during a disaster (62 percent), and after a disaster (63 percent). At least 70 percent cited experience with previous calamities as the reason for being prepared for future disasters.

However, only 27 percent of the respondents expressed confidence in adapting to changes brought by a disaster while 31 percent said they can adapt only a little.

“A large portion of Filipinos, 38 percent, felt they would have difficulty recovering from a disaster if it were to happen in the near future, and only 22 percent said they would be able to recover,” the study said.

“When asked about their family’s ability to recover financially from a natural disaster, it was those living in the National Capital Region (NCR) who fared best with 62 percent saying they could easily recover,” it added.

Only a few respondents claimed to have received housing and relocation assistance—5 percent in Eastern Visayas, nine percent in Central Luzon and six percent in Northern Mindanao.

This was also the case in temporary employment for disaster-stricken residents.

Most of the help came from local government units while relatives, colleagues, neighbors, media, local and international government organizations and the national government were deemed to have given little help. /tsb

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TAGS: aid, Communities, disaster, Haiyan, Harvard, Regions, self-rate, Study, survey
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