Ben Wisner

Ben Wisner
University College London | UCL · Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre (ABUHC)

PhD -- "Human Ecology of Drought in Eastern Kenya"

About

164
Publications
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Publications

Publications (164)
Chapter
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The governance of natural hazards in Chile involves how different actors participate in all stages of managing natural hazards and their impacts. This includes monitoring and early warning systems and response to the most significant hazardous events in the country: earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hydrological and meteorological events,...
Article
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Affluence and vulnerability are often seen as opposite sides of a coin—with affluence generally understood as reducing forms of vulnerability through increased resilience and adaptive capacity. However, in the context of climate change and an increase in associated hazards and disasters, we suggest the need to re-examine this dynamic relationship—a...
Article
A common assertion in discussions of flooding is that risk perception is critical and is linked to risk‐mitigating behavior. Furthermore, many assert that the adverse effects of floods could be reduced by changes in risk communication, thereby influencing risk perception to foster mitigating behavior. We argue that these assertions are based on qui...
Research
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We argue that discussion prioritizing the physical hazard in the case of climate change overshadows and distracts from exposing and confronting the real causes of harm. These root causes remain the many socioeconomic and political processes that push people into vulnerable situations.
Article
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The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015–2030 (SFDRR) and its implementation is evaluated after its first five years. A dozen questions that the author and a colleague used in their evaluation of the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005–2015 (HFA) are repeated. Improvements are noted in relation to possible coherence and alignment with othe...
Chapter
International nongovernmental organizations (INGOs) and national NGOs (NNGOs) attempt to play many roles in disaster risk reduction (DRR) and governance of natural hazards. Although in this part of the world, disaster risk management has conventionally been the domain of government and military, a number of factors have favored engagement by civil...
Article
Authors discuss school safety and disaster education in Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Puerto Rico. Case studies explore work to increase understanding of natural hazards and disaster preparedness. Puerto Rico offers innovative examples of reflection on memories of Hurricane Maria by primary students and university unde...
Conference Paper
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Projects of development, underdevelopment and maldevelopment create, change and/or redistribute unequally the safe and unsafe conditions. Countries in Global South have many examples of disaster risk creation measures in colonial and current times, as does Brazil. Private and public investment, from international and national level, uprooted millio...
Chapter
Other writers have cataloged the many contributions to understanding and practice that disaster studies have produced over the years, many of them, and the earliest, coming from sociology. The Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware was founded in 1963 by, and is still inhabited by sociologists, but has embraced an interdisciplinary...
Chapter
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Natural hazard governance in Cuba elicits widely differing commentaries. While some experts praise it as an extension of state commitment to social welfare, others debate the ethics, necessity, and utility of forced evacuation. However, many disaster experts are unaware of the long-term development of disaster reduction in the country—how Cuban ris...
Article
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Purpose of review: To identify strategies for communicating with youth and children pre- and post-disaster in the context of a broader survey of child participation in disaster risk reduction as well as methods for communication with children. Recent findings: Youth and children are capable of peer and community education and activism concerning...
Book
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This book aims to promote the debate in Brazil and across the Americas about disaster vulnerability reduction, analyzing its social, economic, environmental, political, technical and institutional dimensions. In this region of the world, with its histories, social organization, politics and distribution of social power, what are the root causes and...
Conference Paper
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DRR deals in a conservative manner with historically accumulated risk. New risk is being created by willfully ill considered megaprojects driven by global finance capital. Examples discussed include recent flooding in Houston and Mumbai and deadly landslides in Petropolis (Brazil) and Freetown (Sierra Leone). Legal and ethical issues are raised, an...
Article
More than thirty years after the catastrophic eruption of a nearby volcano, Goma in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), provides evidence of how complex and difficult it is to implement a 'build back better' approach to disaster recovery. The history of Goma and the series of conflicts and other crises its residents have suffered provide the co...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to report on the creation of innovative methods for engaging in conversations about everyday risk. Design/methodology/approach A range of methods from conventional survey research to open-ended, semi-structured conversations and focus groups were used in the series of studies that serve as the subject of this m...
Article
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This viewpoint describes changes in the way that gender and sexual identity are perceived by various disaster risk reduction stakeholders in the city of West Hollywood, California, USA. In general in Europe and North America, and elsewhere, the trend has been for so-called ‘vulnerable’ groups or groups of people with ‘special needs’ to be seen afte...
Article
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On 25 April 2015, a Mw 7.8 earthquake struck central Nepal, killing more than 8700 people. An earthquake of this magnitude has long been anticipated in Nepal and the neighbouring northern Indian state of Bihar, which straddle the active Himalayan frontal fault system. Drawing on field research undertaken before the earthquake, this paper traces the...
Article
Resilience has become a common word in aiming to articulate how communities should deal with disaster. Both ‘resilience’ and ‘community’ are contested through multiple definitions. Different understandings are explored through four artificial and overlapping hazard categories: (1) natural (or environment) hazards; (2) technological hazards; (3) vio...
Technical Report
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The definition proposed by UNISDR on the eve of an inter-governmental meeting to discuss the terminology of disaster risk reduction is silent on three vital issues: power, institutional failure and intentionality. Words matter, hence definitions and their corresponding models and frameworks. Definitions nudge users toward asking some questions and...
Article
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In an age when exposure and vulnerability to hazard has increased dramatically (Lopez-Caressi et al., 2014, Wisner et al., 2004; World Bank, 2011), risk and disaster studies have gained momentum and established themselves as separate fields of study. Nevertheless, the focus of “risk studies” remains corporate and environmental; whilst “disaster stu...
Chapter
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This chapter is a counterpoint to those in the rest of this volume that treat Africa’s large cities. As Simon (2014) has observed, most study of African urban climate change adaptation has focused on the challenges to large cities. So, by way of heuristic exercise, we attempt to approach a set of questions about small African cities and towns facin...
Article
This paper interrogates the framings and priorities of adaptation in Tanzania’s climate policy and examines the implications for the role of local institutions and differentiated rural populations in climate change adaptation. Although Tanzania lacks a “stand alone” climate policy, Tanzania’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and Natio...
Article
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Book
إدارة الكوارث هناك فجوة دائمة بين النظري والعملي، بين الأوساط الأكاديمية والمحترفين النشيطين في مجال إدارة الكوارث. تعني هذه الفجوة أنه لم يتم التعلم من الدروس القيِّمة ونتيجة لذلك فالناس يموتون أو يعانون من ذلك. يفتح هذا الكتاب حواراَ بين المجال النظري والمجال العملي. أنه يقدم دروساً حيوية للممارسين في العلوم والمعرفة عن المخاطر الطبيعية، وإدارة...
Chapter
While triggered by natural hazards, disasters are never “natural.” The term “natural disaster” is current, universally used, but highly loaded and misleading. Disaster risk is a result of hazard events interacting with people who are prepared or unprepared and who have access to the resources to reduce risk or are deprived of such resources.
Chapter
With historical roots in the command and control approach of “civil defense,” disaster management (DM) has grown ever more “civilianized” as the old military model has evolved into one that engages citizens. In turn, DM has moved increasingly from dealing only with response to events and recovery to proactive attempts to prevent or at least reduce...
Chapter
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Article
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This paper presents a preliminary analysis of work conducted along altitudinal gradients in the mountains and plains of northern Tanzania. We find evidence of a high degree of interdependence among groups of people of different language/cultural groups and socio-economic status interacting along environmental gradients from high to low altitude. We...
Article
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Cet article présente une analyse préliminaire d’un travail mené le long des pentes des montagnes et dans les plaines du nord de la Tanzanie. Un fort degré d’interdépendance a pu être mis en évidence parmi des groupes d’individus de langues et de cultures différentes, de statuts socio-économiques variés. Leurs interactions se situent le long de grad...
Article
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The Caribbean region is exposed to various natural hazards due to its geographic position and geological situation. Hurricanes, floods, landslides, earthquakes, and volcanoes cause loss of lives and property, disrupt livelihoods, and in some cases erase years of development. But not everyone suffers equally; the frequency and impacts of disasters t...
Article
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Article
There are disjoints between global and national mainstream perspectives in Climate Change (CC) and the knowledge system of local people who have for generations adapted to climate variations and resource management. The one-dimensional, physical parameters generating countless models have major constrains if the social context is missing. Research...
Article
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Integrated disaster risk management (IDRiM) is a lofty and ambitious goal. It would bridge scales from the global to the local, involving a wide range of actors or stakeholders. It would draw on local as well as outside specialist knowledge, and this external knowledge would come from a wide array of professional and scientific fields from economic...
Article
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The daily media is filled with images of catastrophic events which seem increasingly frequent and violent. In parallel there are a large range of scientific studies, debates in the policy arena, and a growing number of international institutions focused on disaster reduction. But a paradox remains that despite advances in technology, disasters cont...
Article
Cultures and climate are changing. These changes interact with local knowledge and practice. Research has focused on technical questions, such as how small farmers and livestock keepers understand seasonal forecasts, veterinary problems or market conditions. However, there is a more holistic way of engaging local knowledge. Rural people utilise ext...
Article
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This theme issue of Jàmbá takes up the question of neglected disasters. It is an important topic because the world is changing, disasters are changing, and theory is changing. All these changes call for a re-assessment of why some human suffering and social disruption receive attention from authorities, donors, researchers and the media, while some...
Article
This article tries to penetrate the superficial similarities in the ‘woodfuel crisis’ experienced by women in Kenya and Lesotho. In Lesotho, integration into the South African mine labour system has left many women as providers of their family's basic needs, including domestic fuel, in a situation of commoditisation without extreme land privatisati...
Chapter
There are many ways violent conflict complicates, confuses, and obstructs the efforts of planners, engineers, and others to assist people in protecting themselves, their livelihoods, and their built environments from natural hazards. For example, civil war and the so-called ‘war on drugs’ in Colombia have displaced more than a million rural people,...
Article
Firey, Walter. Man, Mind and Land: A Theory of Resource Use. Glencoe, IL: Free Press, 1960. 256 p.
Article
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This work was supported by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) - Social Systems Department. The video projects discussed here were funded by PIK (Argentina), DIPECHO (the Bahamas), ACCCA (Malawi) and the IFRC (Indonesia). We acknowledge the generous film-making contributions of Andrea Santoro, Ben Pritchett, Bruce Boyd, Conwell...
Article
Drought is a recurring challenge to the livelihoods of those living in Tharaka District, Kenya, situated in the semi-arid zone to the east of Mount Kenya, from the lowest slopes of the mountain to the banks of the Tana River. This part of Kenya has been marginal to the economic and political life of Kenya from the colonial period until the present...
Article
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Cet article interroge les conclusions de la récente conférence de Rome sur la sécurité alimentaire mondiale tenue en juin 2008. Il remet en cause les stratégies qui visent à accroître les investissements dans le domaine de l'agriculture pour faire face à la faim dans le monde. La discussion s'appuie sur des exemples africains et asiatiques.This art...
Chapter
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Rapid urbanization and the growth of megacities have for the first time in history resulted in a predominantly urban world. Such an urban explosion, most of which has been in the less developed countries, has increased human exposure to natural and anthropogenic hazards.
Chapter
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It is important not to let the potential magnitude of the impact from a comet or asteroid impact (CAI) skew discussion. Without doubt the energy released, hence consequences, from an ocean or terrestrial impact would be very large (McGuire 1999, pp 231-235; McGuire et al. 2002, pp 133-158). An impact in the world ocean (approximately 71% of our pla...
Article
Presents an extended review of recent writings on health under apartheid, focusing on the importance of health for rural development; social reproduction and struggle in the context of health; the characteristics of health under apartheid; and the future challenge. The paper contains a detailed statistical account of health status under apartheid a...
Article
Climate change, although a natural phenomenon, is accelerated by human activities. Disaster policy response to climate change is dependent on a number of factors, such as readiness to accept the reality of climate change, institutions and capacity, as well as willingness to embed climate change risk assessment and management in development strategi...
Article
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The massive human and economic impact of the Asian tsunami in later 2004 is mirrored in the aftershocks felt among humanitarian organisations, development agencies, and policy makers. This paper raises a number of these troubling, fundamental issues. Firstly, the call for on Indian Ocean tsunami warning system raises fundamental issues about what w...