Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Frank Vanclay and Ana Maria Esteves
9. Disasters and climate change Alison Cottrell and David King Introduction Whereas in other areas of social impact assessment (SIA) where studies are generally undertaken as ex-ante assessments, the consideration of the human catastrophes that result from natural hazards tends to only occur as ex-post assessments. However, as is the case with other SIAs, analysis of the experience of previous events can provide information that can be used to improve planning and preparedness, and thereby reduce vulnerability and enhance resilience of individuals, households and communities in the future (Keys,1991; Buckle, 1999; Buckle et al., 2001; Comfort et al., 2001; Handmer, 2003; Benson and Twigg, 2004, 2007; Berkes, 2007). What is learnt and understood becomes incorporated into emergency management, organizational practice and community awareness and preparedness activities. Impacts of disasters The most direct and immediate impacts of all types of disasters are deaths and injury, and damage to buildings, infrastructure and belongings. Tables 9.1 and 9.2 summarize these impacts globally during the last decade. Impacts are extremely unequal both between regions of the world and from one type of disaster to another. Deaths are concentrated in developing countries, while damage bills are highest in developed countries. Of all the disasters recorded by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED), nearly all are natural phenomena – only the complex humanitarian food crisis of 2002 in North Korea (2002 column in Table 9.2), occurring partly as a result of political circumstances and partly because of drought, as well as transport...
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