Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Livelihoods and Disasters

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_220


The concept of livelihood reflects the ability of people to sustain their daily needs and draws on the combination of a large array of resources which are natural, physical, human, social, financial, and political in nature. These resources strongly interplay with the ability of people to face the threat of and recover from the impact of natural hazards. Therefore strengthening livelihoods and making them sustainable is a crucial component of disaster risk reduction.

Defining livelihoods

The concept of livelihood emerged in the 1980s as an alternative to the technocratic concept of “employment” to better describe how people struggle to make a living (Chambers and Longhurst, 1986; Swift, 1989). It emphasizes people’s view of their own needs. According to Chambers and Conway (1991, p. 1) sustainable livelihoods comprise “people, their capabilities and their means of living, including food, income and assets. Tangible assets are resources and stores, and intangible assets are...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EnvironmentThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand