Prioritising wellbeing and resilience to Build Back Better: insights from a Dominican small-scale fishing community

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Climate change is increasing the severity of extreme weather events, particularly hurricanes, presenting a significant challenge to Caribbean coastal communities. In the aftermath of a major disaster, government interventions typically prioritise infrastructure, assets, and the economy through rebuilding roads, reviving economic sectors, and providing financial compensation. This is driven by a focus on macro-level quantitative indicators rather than by local, multidimensional subjective and relational factors, closer to lived experiences and livelihoods. Using frameworks outlining social well-being and agency, this paper explores strategies used by a fisheries-dependent community in Dominica to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and pursue well-being. The findings highlight the importance of multidimensional well-being, particularly relational and subjective dimensions, including existing social networks, and personal relationships critical for recovery after Maria. Furthermore, the paper demonstrates how recovery initiatives that concentrate solely on material well-being, such as employment, can undermine agency in the capacity of a community to recover and build resilience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S51-S77
Number of pages27
Issue numberS1
Early online date7 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • agency
  • Caribbean
  • disaster risk management
  • environmental hazards
  • small-scale fisheries
  • social wellbeing
  • social well-being

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