A Comparative History
Chapter 8: Conclusion
On 12 August 2015 a warehouse containing hazardous substances blew up in the city of Tianjin, China. Many buildings in the area surrounding the warehouse were destroyed and others were damaged. The preliminary death toll was 44, a number anticipated to rise because 66 critically injured people were in hospital (BBC 2015a). By 20 August, the number of fatalities had risen to 114. Quarrelling over who was to blame, how victims and their families should be compensated, and what should be done to protect the city in the future, was already in full swing (BBC 2015b). Although not as lethal as the Halifax explosion during the First World War, an event that prompted one of the earliest forays into disaster studies (Prince 1920), the Tianjin explosion in principle may be analysed using similar tools. The disaster cycle framework was developed in the 1970s, largely as a guide for those involved in disaster mitigation and response. In the hands of practitioners and disaster management scholars it became known as the disaster management cycle. The disaster cycle is used here with somewhat different ends in mind. In this book the primary goal is to show that disasters in widely different spheres of activity pass through comparable stages.
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