Religious Actors in Disaster Relief: An Introduction

March 2015 (VOL. 33, NO. 1)

Download this article

The neglected intersection between religion and disaster relief should be given much greater attention. This emerging field is an intellectually compelling area for study, though much work stills needs to be done to explore the processes that take place on the ground in different settings. It is also important for practitioners and policy makers involved in disaster response to have a nuanced understanding of the work that religious actors undertake. This special issue begins with an interview with representatives of prominent humanitarian organizations, all of whom call for greater attention to the work of religious actors in disaster relief. The following case studies provide a textured empirical analysis of religious responses to disasters in contemporary Asia. By attending to particular contexts it is shown that religious actors can and do play important yet complex roles in relief processes. This special issue – edited by Philip Fountain, Robin Bush, and R. Michael Feener – aims to critically examine these diverse intersections and also help set future research agendas on the subject.