‘Uncovering hidden struggles among disaster survivors in Tanzania: Are they vulnerable survivors or resilient victims?
Keywords:hidden struggles, disasters, resilient victims, vulnerable survivors
Understanding experiences of disaster survivors as they struggle to bounce back from disaster-caused traumatic experiences, requires concerted and focused efforts involving scholars and practitioners. Developing countries like Tanzania accommodate people who after crisis end up living in misery and not completely recovering. Notwithstanding, however, those labeled resilient or vulnerable usually simply portray a distorted 'face value' reality of the struggles endured. Using a qualitative approach informed by a Chordal Triad of Agency Conceptualization, the paper’s main objective is to uncover hidden struggles among disaster survivors. By recapitulating on the previous study conducted in Kagera14, I extend the argument based on ‘mundane’ experiences to enlighten complexities people encounter as they survive multiple disasters. Findings indicate that understanding vulnerability and resilience encounters among survivors, requires scrutinizing reductionist and exceptionist approaches normally applied by disaster responders often for concealed interests. This process produces vulnerable survivors and/or resilient victims. The paper therefore, unpacks post-disaster struggles among survivors considering their real voices mostly as always ignored by actors. I conclude that struggles of people cannot be summed up without a critical examination of their experiences.