270464 Summer 2006 war on Lebanon: A lesson in community resilience

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 11:15 AM - 11:30 AM

Rouham Yamout, MD, MPH , Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Iman Nuwayhid, MD, DrPH , Faculty of Health Sciences, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon
Within a week of the 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon, approximately one million people fled their homes to relocate in different displacement centers. A team from the American University of Beirut was involved in relief efforts, in coordination with volunteer groups and several national and international agencies. Public health professionals across the country noted an unusual resilient behavior of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). During their displacement period (July 12-August 14), the IDPs exhibited five features of community resilience: orderly evacuation; rapid self-organization; disciplined and peaceful behavior in displacement centers; phenomenal orderly return to their towns and villages the moment the ceasefire was announced; and a rapid and efficient adaption to post-war conditions. This paper suggests that community resilience is a process rather than an outcome. Data from personal observations, interviews, meetings, and published material were used to examine factors contributing to this resilience. Although manifested at the onset of an adversity, community resilience is built well before the adverse event. The sense of a collective identity, prior experience with wars, and social support networks have contributed to building up IDP's resilience over time, while community cohesiveness, adequate public health interventions, social solidarity, and a connected political leadership helped to sustain it during and shortly after the war. This observation calls for a paradigm shift in disaster relief practice, where relief action should capitalize on community resilience to optimize the use of limited resources during disasters and to rebuild the fundamentals of post-war adaptation.

Learning Areas:
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Analyze processes of community resilience during armed conflicts Assess advantages of the community based approach in relief Define the implications of resilience-based paradigm for public health education and practice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been lead and co-author of studies and paper focusing on the concept of political determinants of health in wars and conflicts, and mental health of populations caught up in adverse situations and wars. the development and application of the paradigm of community resilience is one of my research interests.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.