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Cyclone winston: catholic women's faith and agency in a coastal village in Fiji

Sahai, Shirleen and Tabe, Tammy and Ryle, Jacqueline (2021) Cyclone winston: catholic women's faith and agency in a coastal village in Fiji. In: Beyond Belief: Opportunities for Faith-Engaged Approaches to Climate-Change Adaptation in the Pacific Islands. Climate Change Management . Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 117-137. ISBN 978-3-030-67601-8

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This paper concerns experiences of women in Tokou, a coastal village on the island of Ovalau, Fiji, during Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016. It discusses how Tokou women, reflecting on how they acted during Cyclone Winston, see their Catholic faith as the source of their strength and survival. Their belief that God would help and sustain them enabled them to support their families emotionally and spiritually. Bringing families together for prayers and devotions, such as praying the Rosary to the Virgin Mary in homes and in the village evacuation centre, women recreated in the midst of chaos a familiar, ritualized and empowering devotional order. Women’s central roles during the cyclone and after—caring for children and the elderly, cooking, cleaning the debris, cleaning homes, washing clothes, walking to town to get medicine, fishing—were all enacted in the belief that God was present during everything that happened and was guiding their actions. It is essential, we argue, that Disaster Risk Reduction studies and implementation take into account the hugely empowering efficacy of people’s faith and spirituality, how it informs their decisions and actions, and women’s core roles in disaster situations and post-disaster rebuilding of everyday life.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PACE-SD)
School of Law and Social Sciences (SoLaSS)
Depositing User: Fulori Nainoca - Waqairagata
Date Deposited: 06 Apr 2022 01:04
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2022 01:42

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