Riders on the Storm : A Study on Natural Disasters and Post-Conflict Violence

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för freds- och konfliktforskning

Abstract: Many studies find support that natural disaster events and post-conflict episodes increase the risk of organized violence. However, few are found to investigate if post-conflict countries become more violent in the aftermath of natural disasters. By combining research on post-conflict violence, natural disasters, and non-state violence, it is argued in this study that disasters such as earthquakes, floods, and pandemics strain the capacities of all governments, and in post-conflict countries, the weakened capacities of governments can cause public security gaps. These power vacuums, as a result of natural disasters, can incentivize non-state groups to expand and compete for control, and consequently causes the severity of violence to increase. This argument is estimated on country-year data consisting of 64 post-conflict countries between 1989‒2015. A statistically significant correlation between natural disasters and the increased severity of non-state violence is found when testing the argument using Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) and logistic regression, control variables, and different dependent variables. However, due to limiting factors in the statistical models, the results are deemed too ambivalent to fully support the hypothesis.

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