Lecture of Opportunity: Too Small to Count? The Impacts and Policy Implications of Small Disasters in the Sahel

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Wednesday, December 08, 2021
12:00 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
Quinn Lecture Hall, P-251, U.S Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI 02841

U.S. Naval War College, LOO Coordinator

This event is for U.S. Naval War College students, faculty and staff.

Too Small to Count? The Impacts and Policy Implications of Small Disasters in the Sahel

Despite extensive research on disasters induced by natural hazards and climate change, the impact of those of smaller scale remains relatively understudied. This is especially the case in the Sahel, an increasingly important zone in terms of disaster risk reduction. To what extent do ‘small disasters’ cumulatively lead to substantial losses in the Sahel and how do public and nonprofit decisionmakers manage small disasters?

To answer these questions, we adopt a mixed methods approach. Analyzing state-level panel data on disasters losses in Senegal and Mali for the decade between 2005 and 2014, we find that small disasters are as impactful if not more than big disasters in driving total losses, and especially for housing and agricultural losses. We report that large disasters are concentrated in Southern Mali, indicating other areas experiencing many small disasters may be overlooked by assistance classically triggered by many deaths from a big event. We distill policy insights from these quantitative findings with ten qualitative interviews and three focus groups and document analysis from Senegal and Mali. The qualitative findings highlight the challenges of small disasters and the consequences of conflict and small disasters. Together, the findings indicate that small disasters lead to significant disruption for vulnerable communities already shouldering burdens of conflict, food insecurity, and environmental degradation.

About this Lecture

Lectures of Opportunity offers U.S. Naval War College (NWC) students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to learn more about national and international socio-political subjects that may be of relevance to the NWC community.

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