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Taking the 'naturalness' out of natural disaster (again) Observer Natural Hazards Earth in peril (from space)

Authors:

Abstract

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.
Taking the
‘naturalness’
out of natural
disaster
(again)
INSIDE ...
Letters
Page two
H7N9 waits in the wings
Page three
(Please see “Climate,” page fourteen)
Volume XXXVIIINumber 3 January 2014
Observer
Natural Hazards
Earth in peril (from space)
Page nine
Send the u ‘over there’
Page ten
An invited comment by
J.C. Gaillard, Michael
Glantz, Ilan Kelman, Ben
Wisner, Zenaida Delica-
Willison, and Mark Keim
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Letters
The Natural Hazards Center joins with the rest of the hazards community in
mourning the loss of Bill Anderson, a giant in the eld of disaster loss reduction. An-
derson died on December 29, 2013, while on vacation in Hawai’i.
For over two decades, Bill served as the National Science Foundation program
ofcer for the NHC, providing invaluable guidance and support. Throughout his dis-
tinguished career in academia and at the American Sociological Association, NSF,
the World Bank, and at the National Academies, Bill was a consummate researcher,
mentor, and leader.
A Celebration of Life Service will be held on March 22, 2014 at a location to be
determined.
2 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014
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Staff


 
 




 

 
 
 




  

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


Observer



Observer January
31, 2014


Natural Hazards Observer















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


H7N9 virus rushes toward the species barrier
Research varies on
whether virus can yet
jump from animals to
humans
Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 3
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
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
4 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014
They Said It ...
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The Daily Beast
Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 5
Haiyan highlights hurricanes’ havoc
Philippines hit by more and stronger
typhoons since 1983
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Wall Street Journal
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

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

6 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014

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
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

Geophysical Research Leers
Have scientists ‘substantially underestimated’ sea level rise?
Instrumentation gaps
may have led to low
estimates of warming 

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Quarterly Journal of the Royal Me-
teorological Society
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
 

Earth’s Future
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

Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 7
Advances made in tsunami warnings
Shipboard, GPS, and
satellite systems all show
promise
T
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
Geophysi-
cal Research Leers
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Science
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





























Yarnell Hill disaster: Poor planning
and communication
New report says agency
re strategy ‘indefensible’
8 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014









according
New
York T im es

Pacic Northwest quake could trigger giant landslides
Problem would be ‘greater
than previously thought,’
based on new analysis
T












study
Bulletin
of the Seismological Society of America



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
study

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

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


Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 9
Look out below!
The earth in peril (again) from space
Chelyabinsk meteor highlights perils of near
eath objects. And, oh yeah, you probably
didn’t notice the massive solar storm.

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











10 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014
Killing them
softly—with
the Spanish u
Over there, over there,
Send the word,
Send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming
The drums rum tumming everywhere
So prepare, say a prayer
Send the word, send the word to beware
We’ll be over, we’re coming over
And we won’t come back till it’s over over there











































An invited comment by Joe Scanlon and Brenna Lester
Doctor Roy writes about the u
On September 29, 1918, a dOctOr who signed his name
only as “Roy” wrote a
letter
to a physician friend from
Camp Devens. He wrote, “This epidemic started about
four weeks ago, and has developed so rapidly that the
camp is demoralized and all ordinary work is held up till
it has passed. All assemblages of soldiers taboo.”
Camp Devens was established in September
1917 as a temporary facility for training soldiers. It was
named in honor of Brevet Major General Charles
Devens, a Massachusetts native who served in the
American Civil War and was later attorney general in
the Grant administration. The letter was featured on the
PBS program The American Experience.
Dr. Roy continued, “These men start with what
appears to be an attack of la grippe or inuenza,
and when brought to the hospital they very rapidly
develop the most viscous type of pneumonia that
has ever been seen. Two hours after admission they
have the mahogany spots over the cheek bones, and
a few hours later you can begin to see the cyanosis
extending from their ears and spreading all over the
face, until it is hard to distinguish the coloured men from
the white.
“It is only a matter of a few hours then until death
comes, and it is simply a struggle for air until they
suffocate. It is horrible. One can stand it to see one,
two or twenty men die, but to see these poor devils
dropping like ies sort of gets on your nerves. We have
been averaging about 100 deaths per day, and still
keeping it up.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there is a new
mixed infection here, but what I don’t know. My total
time is taken up hunting rales, rales dry or moist, sibilant
or crepitant or any other of the hundred things that one
may nd in the chest, they all mean but one thing here
— pneumonia — and that means in about all cases
death.”
Dr. Roy was overworked, with 168 beds in his ward,
and lots of paperwork. There were four day nurses and
ve night nurses.
“I don’t wish you any hard luck Old Man,” he wrote
toward the end, “but do wish you were here for a while
at least. It’s more comfortable when one has a friend
about. The men here are all good fellows, but I get so
damned sick o’ pneumonia that when I eat I want to
nd some fellow who will not ‘talk shop’ but there ain’t
none, no how. We eat it, sleep it, and dream it, to say
nothing of breathing it 16 hours a day.”
Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 11


































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








12 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014

































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


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









American Experience 













































Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 13


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
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




Joe Scanlon is professor emeritus and director of the Emergency
Communications Research Unit at Carleton University in Oawa,
Canada. He and his researchers have wrien two earlier articles as
aspects of the u. Brenna Lester is a fourth year history student at
Carleton.


American Journal of Disaster Medicine



Mortality

14 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014

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


Going up climate disasters


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


















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Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 15















Going down—focus on root causes













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
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



Ben Wisner discovered natural hazards in 1966 while living in
a Tanzanian village aected by ood, drought, pest aacks on stored
grain and residential re spreading rapidly from thatched roof to
thatched roof.
J.C. Gaillard is an associate professor at the School of Environ-
ment of The University of Auckland.
Michael Glantz is now researching “lessons learned about les-
sons learned” about hydro-meteorological disaster risk reduction.
Ilan Kelman is a reader in risk, resilience and global health at
University College London.
Aer surviving a severe tornado that destroyed his home
and community in 1982, Mark Keim now serves as an associate
director of science, leading the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s
eorts for disaster risk reduction as it applies to health.
Who pays for disasters?
Typhoon Haiyan not only devastated the Phil-
ippines but has ruptured the fragile bonds among
the rich and poor nations over
who pays
for climate
change. The New York Times reported in mid-Novem-
ber from Warsaw that “a routine international climate
change conference here turned into an emotional
forum, with developing countries demanding compen-
sation from the worst polluting countries for damage
they say they are already suffering.”
That poor countries contribute little to the causes
of climate change while taking on most of the impact
burdens has long been accepted policy wisdom. But
now that the effects of global warming are being felt
on the ground—from sea level rise, stronger storms,
higher storm surges, and the like—there appears to
be a growing restlessness among developing nations
about the costs.
A recent study by Germanwatch assessed “to
what extent countries have been affected by the
impacts of weather-related loss events.” They found
that in 2011—the most recent year for which complete
were available—the most affected nations were Thai-
land, Cambodia, Pakistan, El Salvador and the Philip-
pines. For the 20 years between 1992 and 2011, Hon-
duras, Myanmar, and Nicaragua were the hardest hit.
All of these are developing nations that produce little
climate impact.
“We are at these climate conferences essentially
moving chess gures across the board without ever be-
ing able to bring these negotiations to a conclusion,”
Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations
Environment Program, told the Times.
John Kioli, chairman of the Kenya’s Climate
Change Working Group, said, “If developed countries
are reasonable enough, they are able to understand
that they have some responsibility.”
Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 16
Zenaida Delica-Willison is an independent consultant in the
Philippines and winner of the Mary Fran Myers Award for work on
gender and disaster.
References

Disaster Prevention and Management



StarAfrica.com
http://en.starafrica.com/news/mozambique-
begins-compulsory-evacuation-of-people-in-ood-risk-areas.
html.
Land Degradation and
Society



http://
www.cred.be/emdat
Rural Development: Puing the Last
First


International
Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation

DesInventar
Online: Sistema de Inventario de Efectos de Desastres


http://online.desinventar.org/

Journal of
International Development
Climate and
Development

International Journal of Mass Emergencies and
Disasters 

Climatic Change

Interpretation of Calamities


Geographische
Rundschau International Edition

Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance
Climate Change Adaptation. Special Report of the IPCC



Climate Change Adaptation and
Disaster Risk Reduction

The Environmentalist








Nature



Weather and Climate Extremes


2009 Global Assessment Report on
Disaster Risk Reduction

2011 Global Assessment Report on
Disaster Risk Reduction





Journal of Alpine Research
http://rga.
revues.org/1701

International Social Science Journal
At
Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability, and Disasters.


Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies

Handbook of
Hazards and Disaster Risk Reduction

Let Them Eat
(Maize) Cake: Climate Change Discourse, Misinformation and
Land Grabbing in Tanzania. Contested Global Landscapes


Dams and Development:
A New Framework for Decision-Making
Natural Hazards ObserverJanuray 2014 17
Below are brief descriptions of some of the resources on hazards and disasters that have recently come to the
attention of the Natural Hazards Center. Web links are provided for items that are available free online.
Other materials can be purchased through the publisher or local and online booksellers.
All of the material listed here is available at the Natural Hazards Center Library. For more information
contact librarian Wanda Headley at wanda.headley@colorado.edu.
CLIMATE
-



http://bit.ly/1cqLbj1

























www.cambridge.org/9781107694736
























Living in a Dangerous Climate


Australopithicus
afarensisH. sapiens

























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
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







ALL HAZARD



www.icpress.co.uk

Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 18
Below are descriptions of some recently awarded contracts and grants related to hazards and disasters.



http://www.nsf.gov/
awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1333311

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
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
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

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


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
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Disasters Without Borders
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EARTHQUAKE
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
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
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

Natural Hazards ObserverJanuray 2014 19
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

Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 20
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

Natural Hazards ObserverJanuray 2014 21
January 16-17, 2014
Northridge Earthquake Symposium
Pacic Earthquake Engineering Research Center
Los Angeles, California
Cost: $50







http://www.northridge20.org/
January 29-30, 2014
Symposium on Earthquake and Landslide Risk in
Central Asia
European Commission FP7 Project
Bishekek, Kyrgyz Republic
Cost: $41







http://bit.ly/1kPh6Z3
January 30-31, 2014
Baltic Earth Workshop on Natural Hazards and Extreme
Events in the Baltic Sea Region
Baltic Earth
Helsinki, Finland
Cost: Free






http://www.baltic-earth.eu/hazards/
February 8-13, 2014
67th Society for Range Management Annual
International Meeting, Technical Training and Trade
Show
Dow AgroSciences and Society for Range Management
Orlando, Florida
Cost: $365







http://rangelands.org/orlando2014/
February 11-13, 2014
Business Continuity and Emergency Response Forum
Fleming Gulf
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Cost: $3,199








http://security.eminggulf.com/business-continuity-
emergency-response-forum
February 13-16, 2014
Second World Congress on Disaster Management
World Congress on Disaster Management
Hyderabad, India
Cost: $250








http://wcdm.info/index.html
February 17-19, 2014
International LiDAR Mapping Forum
SPAR Point Group
Denver, Colorado
Cost: $550








http://www.lidarmap.org/international
February 19, 2014
Advances in Extratropical Cyclone Understanding and
Prediction
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency Center for Weather
and Climate Prediction
College Park, Maryland
Cost: Free






22 Natural Hazards Observer January 2014



http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/35th.php
February 24-26, 2014
Climate Leadership Conference
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, Association of Climate
Change Ofcers, and others
San Diego, California
Cost: $525







http://www.climateleadershipconference.org/about.html
March 13-14, 2014
2014 Annual Land Use Conference
Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute
Denver, Colorado
Cost: $525







http://www.law.du.edu/index.php/rmlui/rmlui-practice/
rmlui-annual-conference/program
March 14-18, 2014
3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
UNISDR
Sendai City, Japan
Cost: Not posted






http://www.preventionweb.net/wcdrr/
March 19-20, 2014
2014 Aerial Fire Fighting Conference
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Sacramento, California
Cost: $1400







http://tangentlink.com/event/aerial-reghting-
sacramento-2014/
May 5-8, 2014
5th Africa Regional Platform for Disaster Risk
Reduction
United Nations Ofce for Disaster Risk Reduction-Regional Ofce
for Africa
Abuja, Nigeria
Cost: Not specied




http://www.unisdr.org/africa
March 20-21, 2014
ASIS Region 1D Conference: Critical Infrastructure
Protection
American Society for Industrial Security
San Diego, California
Cost: $175







http://www.sdasis.org/
May 5-7, 2014
Design for Urban Disaster
Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cost: $75







http://www.designforurbandisaster.com/
May 12-15, 2014
2nd International Conference: Climate Change —The
Environmental and Socio-Economic Response in the
Southern Baltic Region
Baltic Sea Experiment and Szczecin University
Szecsecin, Poland
Cost: Not available






http://www.baltex-research.eu/SZC2014/index.html
May 19-21, 2014
Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change
Preparedness Conference
Antioch Univesrity, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Manchester, New Hampshire
Cost: $240
Natural Hazards ObserverJanuary 2014 23
Natural Hazards Observer
ISSN 0737-5425
Printed in the USA.
Published bimonthly. Reproduction with acknowledgment is permitted and encouraged.
ObserverObserver
Observer

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












http://www.antiochne.edu/innovation/climate-change-
preparedness/
June 11-12, 2014
16th Futures Conference: Sustainable Futures in a
Changing Climate
Turku University, Finland Futures Research Centre
Helsinki, Finland
Cost: $475







http://www.futuresconference./2014/
June 16-18, 2014
23rd SRA-E Conference
Society for Risk Analysis
Istanbul, Turkey
Cost: $750








http://srae2014.itu.edu.tr/
June 16-20, 2014
34th EARSeL Symposium
University of Warsaw
Warsaw, Poland
Cost: $538





http://www.earsel.org/symposia/2014-symposium-Warsaw/
index.php
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to emphasise how vulnerability is not only “place-based” and to explore by example how vulnerability to hazards in England may comprise additional economic, social and psychological contributors to poverty. The mutuality of poverty and vulnerability is demonstrated, as are examples of susceptibility of the vulnerable to stigmatic disregard and cruelty. Design/methodology/approach – “Place-based” vulnerability is exemplified by coastal vulnerabilities and causes of their increase. Poverty and its causes are explained, followed by examples of possible contributors, indicators and consequences in incomes, living costs and debt; housing welfare and homelessness; food, nutrition, health and mental ill-health. Susceptibility to stigmatic behaviours exacerbate personal vulnerabilities. Findings – Dynamics of mutual inter-relationships between poverty and vulnerability are demonstrated. Behavioural responses to either condition by individuals and by society at large, to which those who are vulnerable or in poverty are susceptible, are described in the present and from history. Research limitations/implications – Findings form a “theoretical reality” upon which some measures may follow. An additional need is identified for long-term social field research to follow adults’ and childrens’ experiences, and consequences of poverty in vulnerable situations. Practical implications – Vulnerability accrues irrevocably between disasters, the results of which may be exposed by disaster impacts. Social implications – Recognition of linkages between economic and social vulnerability and disasters is essential for subsequent action to reduce the impact of disasters upon society. Originality/value – Though vulnerability has been explored for many years, the dynamics of its contributing processes require further explanation before their wider comprehension is achieved.
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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 call this “socio-geographical adaptation” to climate change. However, our analysis and discussion adds complexity to any simple notion of “adaptation to climate change” since changes are multiple and adaptation is complex.
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In Africa, hydro-meteorological disasters (HMDs) have hit with increasing frequency and magnitude in recent years, with detrimental impacts on local livelihoods. African countries display a patchwork of national policies and institutional frameworks to address these rising HMDs. This paper examines the heterogeneity that exists within Africa′s institutional arrangements for climate-related disaster risk management, and introduces a three-partite policy classification that ranks each country as one of three disaster management policy types: the ‘Unprepared Firefighters′ (whose response to disasters is late, delayed and ineffective), the ‘Prepared Firefighters′ (for the most part effective disaster responders) and the ‘Disaster Averters′ (who experienced a paradigm shift and moved focus away from the hazard itself towards a reduction of the underlying risk factors that cause disasters). Through extensive data mining, interviews and qualitative country assessments, we map where African countries lie on this spectrum of effective climate-related disaster risk management. We find that African countries lay at different levels on the spectrum of effective disaster risk management. Across Africa, countries display differential progress in achieving the Hyogo Framework for Action goals and great variation and heterogeneity exists from country to country, one that calls for a concomitant heterogeneity in aid programs and initiatives meant to support comprehensive disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation (DRR–CCA) in Africa. In closing, this paper suggests ways to support African countries′ efforts towards effective disaster risk management and planning. It offers a qualitative method to continually assess developing countries′ progress in achieving the Hyogo Framework for Action goals, one that straddles top-down country self-reporting and bottom-up civil society assessment.
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The mechanism for reducing carbon emissions through forest conservation is dominating climate policy processes in many tropical forests countries. However, there are concerns about the implications of these activities on forest-dependent communities, who are vulnerable to climatic stresses. Reconciling local vulnerability, adaptive capacity and forests carbon conservation initiatives is necessary but challenging. This paper examines this option in two community forests carbon conservation projects in Nomedjoh and Nkolenyeng in southern Cameroon. Base on community perception, the study reveals firstly, that communities are vulnerable to local climate variability and the carbon conservation projects might further exacerbate community vulnerability. Secondly, local adaptation needs and options encompass improvement in livelihood diversification, strengthening the viability of local economic activities, knowledge and capacity building in local agriculture systems and alternative livelihood options. Thirdly, the motivation, incentives and willingness of forest communities to participate in forests conservation activities are somehow influenced by factors linked to their adaptation needs, in addition to the perception of tenure security. Furthermore, the carbon project objectives and activities have prospects to enhance the adaptive capacity of forest communities if well implemented. This study concludes that assessing the vulnerability of livelihood options of communities to both climatic and non climatic stresses is a point of departure to minimise risk on forests carbon conservation schemes.
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The prevailing scientific view of the losses suffered by human communities from flood, drought or storm is a quite recent invention. In many ways the model which has been so carefully constructed and which is so insistent in further research is the single greatest impediment in understanding natural calamities and their alleviation. We have separated these events from past understanding of them and from other work on the man-environment relationship. Most calamities are characteristic, not accidental events, and are closely bound up with the afflicted societies. -K.Clayton
Article
Civil protection, or emergency preparedness as it is known in the USA, has grown in response to the need to protect populations against natural and technological disasters. Over the past two decades it has partially supplanted civil defence, which is primarily concerned with civilian response to armed aggression. This article traces the evolution of both fields and analyses their often uneasy relationship. It discusses the probable long-term effect of the US terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 on emergency management policies around the world and considers the implications of the probable changes in terms of citizen’s rights and expectations in disaster situations. With the new emphasis on anti-terrorism measures, and a new spirit of authoritarianism, civil defense appears to be becoming resurgent at the expense of the more democratic forms of crisis management inherent in modern civil protection arrangements.
Article
Ever since human society developed, environmental and social changes have led to major challenges that must be dealt with. Some of these major challenges are seen as “disasters,” for which a definition that is frequently used is similar to “A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society causing widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources” (UNISDR, 2004; see, e.g., Quarantelli, 1998, and Furedi, 2007, for discussions on the meaning(s) of “disaster”). From witnessing disasters and being forced to work through the aftermath, humanity has been shifting toward trying to reduce disasters’ impacts or to avert them entirely. This field has the modern-day interpretation of “disaster risk reduction,” defined as “The conceptual framework of elements considered with the possibilities to minimize vulnerabilities and disaster risks throughout a society, to avoid (prevention) or to limit (mitigation and preparedness) the adverse impacts of hazards, within the broad context of sustainable development” (UNISDR, 2004).