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This article introduces a hybrid governance perspective to disaster management. Hybrid governance refers to situations where state and non-state actors collectively provide key services. We argue that hybridity is often the norm rather than exception for disaster management, particularly in developing countries where the state is often weak and may be unable or unwilling to provide essential services. In these instances, risks are addressed by the state and non-state entities—from citizens and NGOs to customary authorities. Because of their important role in risk reduction, disrupting hybrid processes by attempting to bring them under the remit of the state may create rather than reduce risk. To make this argument, we first outline the key tenants of hybridity and their applicability to disasters before illustrating hybridity through three case studies of hybrid risk management in three cities in Africa, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Monrovia, Liberia.

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This research was conducted by the Pardee Initiative for Global Human Progress at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

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