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Storm over San Isidro: “Civic Community” and Disaster Risk Reduction in the Nineteenth Century Philippines



Using a detailed archival account of a typhoon-induced flood, this paper examines Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) as practised in a late nineteenth century provincial town in the Philippines. Culture is an important determinant when considering DRR for any community as the roots of its present-day resilience as well as the causes of its vulnerabilities may lie in its history. The flood of 1887 and the account of the actions taken by the community in San Isidro challenge any assumptions about DRR in the past and hint at the origins of the vibrant civil society that is such a characteristic of Filipino society today.