Social work and disaster management

The history of social work’s role in disaster response is already a long one.  While the formal literature still seems a bit scanty, there’s clearly been an increase of attention to the topic over the past two decades – no surprise, given the surge in disaster frequency, and the numbers of people affected, due to war, ethnic cleansing, and environmental catastrophes.

But today, with what seems like half of Australia burning while major parts of Indonesian floods (and tornadoes in Mississippi becoming a regular occurrence!), I wonder if it’s not time for all social work programs, and not just the occasional specialized track, to incorporate “disaster management” as a major dimension of their curricula.  Will remaining relevant to social welfare allow the profession to settle for anything less?

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