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 local, multidimensional subjective and relational factors, closer to lived experiences and livelihoods. Usingframeworks outlining social wellbeing and agency, this paper explores strategies used by a fisheries-dependent community in Dominica to recover from Hurricane Maria in 2017 and pursue wellbeing. Findingshighlight the importance of multi-dimensional wellbeing, particularly relational and subjectivedimensions, including existing social networks, and personal relationships critical for recovery post-Maria. Further, we demonstrate how recovery initiatives solely focused on material wellbeingsuch as employment, can undermine agency in the capacity of a community to recover and build resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date7 Apr 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Apr 2022


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

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