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  • Author or Editor: Ilan Kelman x
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Ilan Kelman

Defining 'disaster' is not easy. In many ways, it is more straightforward to explain what a disaster is not, rather than what it is. First, disasters are not natural, because they occur when those with power and resources make choices to avoid preparing for or dealing with potentially dangerous phenomena. Second, disasters are not events, but are processes, because the choices and values which cause and permit disasters occur over the long-term. Third, disasters lack "un"-ness, because they are not uncertain, unpredictable, unpreventable, unusual, or unstoppable. The causes are well-known and are easily identifiable and redressed, if people with the power and resources would do so. Nonetheless, exceptions exist for each of these rules. Ultimately, though, some people create and perpetuate the conditions which permit disasters to manifest, so disasters are about us.

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Deanne Bird, Robert McLeman, Guðrún Gísladóttir, Ilan Kelman, Marius Warg Næss and Guðrún Jóhannesdóttir