Geographer’s talk looks at untangling dual disasters

photo of damaged homes

York geography Professor Jennifer Hyndman will examine how environmental disasters interact with political crises in a talk next week.

“Dual Disasters: The Temporality of Humanitarian Crisis and the Limits of Knowledge Production” will take place Tuesday, March 13, from 12:45 to 2pm, at 140 Health, Nursing & Environmental Studies Building, Keele campus.

Hyndman A dual disaster, explains Hyndman, is where a humanitarian crisis with human-made political roots overlaps with a humanitarian crisis induced by environmental disaster. “I will draw on the case of the 2004 tsunami and its impact in Aceh, Indonesia, and in Sri Lanka, where decades of civil war preceded the death and destruction of the waves, to develop this concept.”

Her aim is to engage the audience in a quest to find a method that would allow for the study of dual disasters in a temporal sense.

How, if at all, can you ascertain the impact of an earlier crisis or crises on the current one(s)? asks Hyndman, of York’s Centre for Refugees Studies.

“I am interested in whether this question is answerable in the current case of Somalia, where, in effect, the dual disasters of drought and war have returned to the region almost two decades later.”

Hyndman is the author of Dual Disasters: Humanitarian Aid after the 2004 Tsunami (Kumarian Press, 2011). The book developed out of her experiences in Sri Lanka in 2004 following the tsunami, where she witnessed the devastation of the tsunami coupled with that of impoverishment and conflict as workers tried to roll out humanitarian relief. The earthquake-triggered tsunami is estimated to have killed or displaced more than one-million people.

The talk is sponsored by the Faculty of Environmental Studies, Department of Geography and Centre for Refugee Studies.