Disaster and Development in Historical Context: Tropical Cyclone Response in the Banks Islands, Northern Vanuatu

November 1990 (VOL. 8, NO. 3)

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The Banks Islands in northern Vanuatu are prone to tropical cyclones. While a thriving population appears to have coped with these events prior to European contact, since then a smaller population has struggled to maintain its food security following tropical cyclone events. A number of social, economic, political and resource management changes have led to a set of disaster pre-conditions which result independence on external food relief following tropical cyclones. Most of these changes have taken place in the intervening years between disasters and have occurred independent of the tropical cyclone hazard. However, one set of changes, the provision of food relief itself, has provided the catalyst for the other changes to occur.