Center for Rebuilding new.logo
Sustainable Communities 
after Disasters

John W. McCormack Graduate School of
Policy and
Global Studies


CRSCAD Newsletter
March 2012


After the Cameras Leave


Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters in Bangladesh, Chile, and Massachusetts


In May 2009, Cyclone Aila left thousands in Bangladesh stranded in flooded villages. Three years later, NGOs continue to rebuild with an emphasis on climate resilience; dykes, elevated homes, and saline resistant crops have been three strategies. See photos from The Guardian. In Bainbara, a village on Bangladesh's southwest coast destroyed by Aila, the new homes being built are cyclone and flood resistant.


Two years after an 8.8 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami struck Chile, roads have been rebuilt and tourism is picking up but the lack of agreement about how to define potential disaster zones has caused rebuilding in the housing sector to lag. As of December 2011, the Santiago Times reported that "the government still has a long way to go to eliminate the emergency housing and shantytowns around southern Chile that house nearly 3,300 families whose homes were destroyed."The country's head of reconstruction is considering a US post-Katrina model of rent subsidies to move those still in emergency housing to more stable homes.


In Springfield, Massachusetts (USA), eight months after a tornado ripped through the city on June 1, 2011, officials have released the Master Plan for rebuilding the city. Planners incorporated extensive input from the community gathered through a series of 19 public meetings that involved some 2,000 residents.  


CRSCAD Announces Summer Institute in China


A 6-credit, 2- course program


CRSCAD 503:   Topics in Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters

CRSCAD 596* Independent Study (online or on campus)



The Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters (CRSCAD), in collaboration with University College, offers a unique opportunity to study, and experience first-hand, best practices and successful examples of post-disaster community building in various parts of the world.


Hosted by Sichuan University, participants will spend two intensive weeks in Chengdu, learning about various dimensions of post-disaster reconstruction.In addition to lectures, research and case studies, students will have field trips the Dujiangyan Irrigation System and Sanxingdui Museum.The Dujiangyan Irrigation System  has been constructed to reclaim lands ravaged by the flooding of the Minjang River. The area, once decimated, has through the lengthy study and hard work of the local people, resulted in the Chengdu Plain where people have been living peacefully and affluently. The project is honored as the "Treasure of the Sichuan" and plays a crucial role in draining off floodwater, irrigating farms and providing water resources for more than 50 cities in the province.

*Approval expected in spring 2012. 


Vulnerable Populations


An "Epidemic" of Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in Haiti 


Beyond the well-documented increase in sexual violence in the aftermath of Haiti's 2010 massive earthquake, another epidemic has emerged: the sexual exploitation of Haitian women and girls. Lack of economic opportunity and the loss of community and family structures have driven young women and girls into survival sex -- the exchange of sex for money, water, housing, jobs, education or even a single meal. A  new report authored by MADRE and partners analyzes the issue and assesses policy recommendations.


Afghanistan's Rapid ­- but Haphazard - Development


An Interview with CRSCAD Advisory Board Member Najim Azadzoi 


 In his more than 20 visits to Afghanistan over the last ten years, most recently as a consultant for the World Bank and lead architect for USAID in Afghanistan, Afghan-born Najim Azadzoi has seen a lot of fast-paced development, but wonders whether it has really been good for the country.

Read more.


New Resources


Oxfam Reports Call for Strengthening Local and National Disaster Response and Better Managing Risks


In its newly released report, Crisis in the New World Order: Challenging the humanitarian project, the international non-governmental organization Oxfam says "despite years of reform" the capacities of UN agencies, Western-based donors, and international NGOs (INGOs) are stretched thin in the face of vast humanitarian crises. It notes that, "the growing number of vulnerable people, the rise in disasters, and the failure to put most fragile states on the path to development, will significantly increase needs."  


While the UN and NGOs' contributions will continue to be vital, Oxfam argues that "the future of humanitarian action lies not in the North, but in the diverse array of local, national, and regional authorities, and civil society and religious organizations in the countries where conflicts continue and disasters strike." Going forward, it is therefore crucial to strengthen and support these organizations, Oxfam concluded.


In January, Oxfam and Save the Children issued a joint report, A Dangerous Delay: The cost of late response to early warnings in the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa which argued that governments, donors, the UN and NGOs need to change their approach to chronic drought situations by managing the risks, not the crisis.This conclusion affirms the need for comprehensive post-disaster assessment in order to assure that redevelopment is sustainable.   



About CRSCAD: 


The primary purpose of the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters (CRSCAD) is to work in close collaboration with practitioners, academics, researchers, policy makers and grassroots organizations in the United States of America and in all the continents of the world in their search for the most appropriate and sustainable ways to rebuild their communities after disasters.


University of Massachusetts 
McCormack Hall 3rd Floor, Room 612 
Boston, Massachusetts 02125 
Telephone: 617-287-7116


Contributions, suggestions and feedback about the newsletter are welcome and should be sent to any of the following members of the Editorial Committee:


Amanda Achin (Design and Distribution)

Jennifer Clifford

Katharine Galaitsis

Muna Killingback

Olga Lauterbach



Telephone: 617-287-7116

In This Issue
Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters in Bangladesh, Chile, and Massachusetts
CRSCAD Announces Summer Institute in China
"Epidemic" of Sexual Exploitation of Women and Girls in Haiti
Interview with CRSCAD Advisory Board member Najim Azadzoi
Oxfam Reports Call for Strengthening Local and National Disaster Response

CRSCAD Internship Opportunity  


This internship in the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters (CRSCAD) at the University of Massachusetts Boston provides a unique opportunity for a graduate student to gain a broad exposure to issues in global post-disaster sustainable rebuilding and learn about the leading networks, organizations, and agencies from the local to the international level that carry out this work.

Summer Registration
begins March 26th  

Online Courses

July 16-Aug 23

This course will provide students with a broad overview of challenges faced by migrant and refugee populations that have been displaced by socio-political upheavals and natural disasters.

CRSCAD 596: Independent
Study in Global Post-Disaster Studies

This guided independent study will allow the student to choose and explore an area of strong interest in global post-disaster studies that is not covered by available courses.

*Approval expected in spring 2012. 

To read more about the courses visit our website.   




Conference Announcements 

6th World Water Forum

March 12-17 


With goals of tackling global water challenges and prioritizing water on political agendas, the 6th World Water Forum will convene in Marseilles, France from March 12-17. The forum is based on the platform that there will be no sustainable development while the water issues remain unsolved. It states, "Everywhere on the planet, for all and everyone, the right to water (recognised by 189 states at the UN one year ago) must be guaranteed and implemented."     


Register here. 


Conference on Trauma and Learning in Post Secondary Education
April 27, 2012   


Massachusetts Bay Community College is hosting an interdisciplinary and inter-professional conference on Trauma and Learning in Post-Secondary Education. One particular emphasis of this conference will be how the issues of trauma present themselves and are responded to in the diverse 21st century college environment.


Register here. 







The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political  

commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges. It will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.


Register here.


Conference on
Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters in China:
Best Practices and
Lessons Learned

November 15-16, 2012

In 2010, China "experienced more major reported disasters" than any other country, noted the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Margareta Wahlström. The goal of this conference is to share the knowledge of best practices and lessons learned by China with the international community, with a focus on reducing the socio-economic impact of various forms of disasters on vulnerable communities. An entire session will also be devoted to examining case studies of best practices in post-disaster reconstruction from around the world.




Stay connected with CRSCAD