Social Services in Five Nordic Countries in Times of Disaster
with Carin Björngren Cuadra, Senior Lecturer, Department of Social Work, Malmö University, Sweden; Rasmus Dahlberg, PhD Fellow, DEMA and the University of Copenhagen, Denmark; Björn Hvinden Professor, NOVA, an institute at the Oslo and Akerhus University College of Applied Science, Norway; Ingibjörg Lilja Ómarsdóttir, PhD student, University of Iceland, Merja Rapeli, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, Helsinki, Finland; Tapio Salonen, Professor, Faculty of Health and Society, Malmö University, Sweden.
The Nordic countries are known world wide for their extensive welfare systems often referred to as the Nordic or Scandinavian welfare model. Local social services are an important component of the Nordic welfare systems, and their role is to ensure the inhabitants with basic recourses, benefits, housing and services in times of need. There is a growing literature about the importance of local social services in times of disaster. The paper asks if and how the local social services are part of the emergency planning in the five Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. First the paper provides state of the art on the issue providing an overview of the literature about the role of social services. The legal obligations of the emergency and social services are examined in order to provide the necessary data for the policy analysis conducted. The main characteristics of the services are examined in order to provide picture of the institutional organization in each country. Finally the models of social services in times of disaster for each country are compared in order to reveal if there is a Nordic Model of Social Services in times of disaster or if the countries have taken different paths regarding the policies on the role of social services in times of disasters.