CADAN is the
Culture and Disaster
We are a growing group of social scientists and practitioners devoted to helping disaster professionals address that first question: Who Lives Here?
The mission of CADAN is to take action that can build and integrate cultural comprehension into the work of disaster risk reduction and disaster recovery. The network also operates as a point of contact for disaster professionals in government, NGOs and non-profits, and the private sector to connect with researchers and educators from academic institutions. CADAN members are available to float ideas, identify collaborators, and create partnerships.
Arc of Recovery
In this graphic created by CADAN, we illustrate our fundamental message: putting people first. In disaster recovery contexts, the focus on rebuilding material life continues to overlook how meeting cultural needs can support human resilience. When risk reduction, response and recovery specialists use culture as a lens, they hold the focus on people as integral parts of families, social groups and communities. This approach ensures more efficient use of limited resources and more sustainable, effective outcomes.
The rainbow colors convey common categories of recovery work following disaster. The cultural group at the center of these systems of recovery indicate that local values and practices infuse every category of recovery with relevant meaning.
"It all begins by observing and listening. We were visiting this area in Guatemala that had suffered a massive landslide that destroyed the homes of many families in the community. The elders said this happened because they built their houses in a very old pathway where water used to descend from the volcano. But after years of no rain, people started building in that area. When the hurricane approached, the elders warned that water and mud and everything was going to come down that old pathway. And that’s exactly what happened."
"In UNESCO we refer to the notion of “recovery” and not “rebuilding” because this is not only about saving stones and monuments – the role of culture is to sustain social life, enhance cohesion and accelerate rebirth."
"Communities need to feel like they are partners in the programming instead of beneficiaries. We also need to ensure that the best practices for building back better integrate local cultural knowledge so that the community can maintain the structure afterwards and so the results are sustainable."
"Focusing on the importance of culture is not a feel-good exercise. It is essential for peace and progress in the 21st century."