Natural Hazards

, Volume 91, Issue 3, pp 1203–1221 | Cite as

Sustainable livelihoods and effectiveness of disaster responses: a case study of tropical cyclone Pam in Vanuatu

  • Loïc Le DéEmail author
  • Tony Rey
  • Frederic Leone
  • David Gilbert
Original Paper


Category 5 tropical cyclone Pam hit Vanuatu in March 2015, affecting thousands of people. Three months after the event, this study compared the responses from both external aid agencies and the disaster-affected communities to identify convergences, duplications and gaps. The research relies on 13 interviews with aid agencies and eight focus group discussions with participatory activities at local community level. While aid agencies actively responded during and after Pam, local people too responded to the event with strategies based on livelihoods diversification, food security techniques, traditional knowledge and cooperation intra- and inter-communities. The study emphasizes the need for an integrative approach where disaster responses from the top-down integrate that from the bottom-up. Aid agencies should build on the livelihood mechanisms developed at local level so responses and recovery can be more effective, socioculturally acceptable and may lead to sustainable outcomes of disaster risk reduction including climate change adaptation.


Disaster Sustainable livelihoods Rural communities Local knowledge Aid agencies Disaster risk reduction Climate change adaptation Small Island Developing States Pacific region 



The authors thank the French Institute of Research for Development/Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) who funded this research. We also thank the French Red Cross in Vanuatu for their collaboration. We are particularly grateful to David Bridier, Robert Butal and Julien Lamberti for their support on the field.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Loïc Le Dé
    • 1
    Email author
  • Tony Rey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Frederic Leone
    • 2
    • 3
  • David Gilbert
    • 4
  1. 1.School of Public Health and Psychosocial StudiesAuckland University of TechnologyAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of Paul ValéryMontpellierFrance
  3. 3.UMR GREDMontpellierFrance
  4. 4.UMR Espace-DevIRD (Research Institute for Development)MontpellierFrance

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