How bonding and bridging networks contribute to disaster resilience and recovery on the Bangladeshi coast

Rabiul Islam*, Greg Walkerden

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    134 Citations (Scopus)


    Bonding relationships (with family members and relatives) and bridging relationships (with neighbours and friends) are key elements of social networks. These relationships play a vital role in how a community responds to extreme climate events, including cyclones and storm surges. This study investigates how bonding and bridging relationships contribute to recovery from disaster, using the two coastal villages of Bangladesh affected by Cyclone Sidr as case studies. We investigated these contributions through using household surveys, focus groups, meetings with NGOs and local and national key informants. Results show that after a cyclone, affected communities draw heavily on their bonding and bridging relationships to face the immediate crisis. Support through bonding and bridging networks-sharing food, providing comfort, mutual works, etc.-is very important initially. As the time after the disaster increases, these networks perform less well, because of the limited physical and financial capital. After a period of time, bridging relationships become less active and sometimes break down due to poverty, disaster impact, and competition and conflict over access to external support. Bonding relationships, however, do not break down; rather, they continue contributing to the recovery process by reducing food intake, helping with alternative income, and livelihood options through temporary migration and so on. For longer-term recovery, however, disaster victims usually need support through linking social networks, e.g. from the national and international NGOs, local government, and Community-based Organisations. The study concludes by exploring policy options for strengthening the capacities of bonding and bridging networks for disaster recovery and promoting resilience.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)281-291
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


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