Disaster

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For other uses, see Disaster (disambiguation).
Ruins from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, remembered as one of the worst natural disasters in United States history

A disaster is a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.

In contemporary academia, disasters are seen as the consequence of inappropriately managed risk. These risks are the product of a combination of both hazard/s and vulnerability. Hazards that strike in areas with low vulnerability will never become disasters, as is the case in uninhabited regions.[1]

Developing countries suffer the greatest costs when a disaster hits – more than 95 percent of all deaths caused by hazards occur in developing countries, and losses due to natural hazards are 20 times greater (as a percentage of GDP) in developing countries than in industrialized countries.[2][3]

Etymology[edit]

The word disaster is derived from Middle French désastre and that from Old Italian disastro, which in turn comes from the Greek pejorative prefix δυσ-, (dus-) "bad"[4] and ἀστήρ (aster), "star".[5] The root of the word disaster ("bad star" in Greek) comes from an astrological sense of a calamity blamed on the sight of planets.[6]

Classifications[edit]

Researchers have been studying disasters for more than a century, and for more than forty years disaster research. The studies reflect a common opinion when they argue that all disasters can be seen as being human-made, their reasoning being that human actions before the strike of the hazard can prevent it developing into a disaster. All disasters are hence the result of human failure to introduce appropriate disaster management measures.[7] Hazards are routinely divided into natural or human-made, although complex disasters, where there is no single root cause, are more common in developing countries. A specific disaster may spawn a secondary disaster that increases the impact. A classic example is an earthquake that causes a tsunami, resulting in coastal flooding.

Natural Hazard[edit]

Main article: Natural Hazard

A Natural Hazard is a natural process or phenomenon that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, loss of livelihoods and services, social and economic disruption, or environmental damage.

Various phenomena like earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, tsunamis, and cyclones are all natural hazards that kill thousands of people and destroy billions of dollars of habitat and property each year. However, natural hazards can strike in non-populated areas and never develop into disasters. However, the rapid growth of the world's population and its increased concentration often in hazardous environments has escalated both the frequency and severity of disasters. With the tropical climate and unstable land forms, coupled with deforestation, unplanned growth proliferation, non-engineered constructions which make the disaster-prone areas more vulnerable, tardy communication, poor or no budgetary allocation for disaster prevention, developing countries suffer more or less chronically by natural disasters. Asia tops the list of casualties caused by natural hazards.

Airplane crashes and terrorist attacks are examples of man-made disasters: they cause pollution, kill people, and damage property. This example is the September 11 attacks in 2001 at the World Trade Center in New York.

Human-Instigated Disasters[edit]

Main article: Man-made disasters

Human-Instigated disasters are the consequence of technological hazards. Examples include stampedes, fires, transport accidents, industrial accidents, oil spills and nuclear explosions/radiation. War and deliberate attacks may also be put in this category. As with natural hazards, man-made hazards are events that have not happened, for instance terrorism. Man-made disasters are examples of specific cases where man-made hazards have become reality in an event.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Quarantelli E.L. (1998). Where We Have Been and Where We Might Go. In: Quarantelli E.L. (ed). What Is A Disaster? London: Routledge. pp146-159
  2. ^ "World Bank:Disaster Risk Management". 
  3. ^ Luis Flores Ballesteros. "Who’s getting the worst of natural disasters?" 54 Pesos May. 2010:54 Pesos 04 Oct 2008. <http://54pesos.org/2008/10/04/who%e2%80%99s-getting-the-worst-of-natural-disasters/>
  4. ^ "Dus, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus". 
  5. ^ "Aster, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus". 
  6. ^ http://etymonline.com/?term=disaster
  7. ^ B. Wisner, P. Blaikie, T. Cannon, and I. Davis (2004). At Risk – Natural hazards, people's vulnerability and disasters. Wiltshire: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-25216-4

Further reading[edit]

  • Barton A.H. (1969). Communities in Disaster. A Sociological Analysis of Collective Stress Situations. SI: Ward Lock
  • Catastrophe and Culture: The Anthropology of Disaster. Susanna M. Hoffman and Anthony Oliver-Smith, Eds.. Santa Fe NM: School of American Research Press, 2002
  • G. Bankoff, G. Frerks, D. Hilhorst (eds.) (2003). Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People. ISBN 1-85383-964-7.
  • D. Alexander (2002). Principles of Emergency planning and Management. Harpended: Terra publishing. ISBN 1-903544-10-6.
  • Quarantelli, E. L. (2008). “Conventional Beliefs and Counterintuitive Realities”. Conventional Beliefs and Counterintuitive Realities in Social Research: an international Quarterly of the social Sciences, Vol. 75 (3): 873–904.
  • Paul, B. K et al. (2003). “Public Response to Tornado Warnings: a comparative Study of the May 04, 2003 Tornadoes in Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee”. Quick Response Research Report, no 165, Natural Hazard Center, Universidad of Colorado
  • Kahneman, D. y Tversky, A. (1984). “Choices, Values and frames”. American Psychologist 39 (4): 341–350.
  • Beck, U. (2006). Risk Society, towards a new modernity. Buenos Aires, Paidos
  • Aguirre, B. E & Quarantelli, E. H. (2008). “Phenomenology of Death Counts in Disasters: the invisible dead in the 9/11 WTC attack”. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. Vol. 26 (1): 19–39.
  • Wilson, H. (2010). “Divine Sovereignty and The Global Climate Change debate”. Essays in Philosophy. Vol. 11 (1): 1–7
  • Uscher-Pines, L. (2009). “Health effects of Relocation following disasters: a systematic review of literature”. Disasters. Vol. 33 (1): 1–22.
  • Hirshleifer, Jack (2008). "Disaster and Recovery". In David R. Henderson (ed.). Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (2nd ed.). Indianapolis: Library of Economics and Liberty. ISBN 978-0865976658. OCLC 237794267. 
  • Scheper-Hughes, N. (2005). “Katrina: the disaster and its doubles”. Anthropology Today. Vol. 21 (6).
  • Phillips, B. D. (2005). “Disaster as a Discipline: The Status of Emergency Management Education in the US”. International Journal of Mass-Emergencies and Disasters. Vol. 23 (1): 111–140.
  • Mileti, D. and Fitzpatrick, C. (1992). “The causal sequence of Risk communication in the Parkfield Earthquake Prediction experiment”. Risk Analysis. Vol. 12: 393–400.
  • Korstanje, M. (2011). "The Scientific Sensationalism: short commentaries along with scientific risk perception". E Journalist. Volume 10, Issue 2.
  • Korstanje, M. (2011). "Swine Flu, beyond the principle of Reisilience". International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, Vol. 2 Iss: 1, pp. 59–73

External links[edit]