Disaster preparedness and response among religious organizations

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of the project was to discover whether or not religious communities were prepared, with both supplies and a plan of action, for disasters and whether or not they provided relief efforts in the aftermath of a disaster. This project also provided insight into the explanations for group preparedness and relief efforts of religious groups and how they coped with natural disasters in accordance with their faiths. From this data, I determined the relationship between religious affiliation and disaster preparedness and response. I used a stratified random sample to gather participants from the Birmingham, Alabama area. A total of 15 participants were used in this study: Baptist (1), Catholic (2), Episcopalian (1), Judaism (2), Jehovah's Witness (1), Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1), Lutheran (3), Methodist (2), and Nondenominational (2). Qualitative interviews were conducted with religious leaders to assess disaster preparedness, if they provided relief efforts after a disaster, the reasons for their actions, and how they cope with natural disasters. The results revealed slightly more than half of the participants were prepared for a disaster with supplies, a disaster plan, or both. Those religious groups which were not prepared stated it was due to the small congregation size or the lack of space for storing disaster supplies. All of the participants stated they provide relief services after disasters occur. The most common services included debris removal, the collection of monetary and clothing donations, and the collection and redistribution of food and water. Religious groups shared a common theme to explain why they provide relief, being that it is part of their faiths mission, beliefs, and/or teachings. Lastly, there was a weak relationship between religious affiliation and how these groups cope with natural disasters.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Cultural anthropology