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At Risk: Natural Hazards, People's Vulnerability and Disasters

01 Jan 1994-

Abstract: Part 1: Framework and Theory 1. The Challenge of Disasters and Our Approach 2. Disaster Pressure and Release Model 3. Access to Resources and Coping in Adversity Part 2: Vulnerability and Hazard Types 4. Famine and Natural Hazards 5. Biological Hazards 6. Floods 7. Severe Coastal Storms 8. Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Landslides Part 3: Action for Disaster Reduction 9. Vulnerability, Relief and Reconstruction 10. Towards a Safer Environment
Topics: Vulnerability (61%), Disaster risk reduction (59%), Natural hazard (59%), Social vulnerability (56%), Disaster research (56%)
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Barry Smit1, Johanna Wandel1Institutions (1)
Abstract: This paper reviews the concept of adaptation of human communities to global changes, especially climate change, in the context of adaptive capacity and vulnerability. It focuses on scholarship that contributes to practical implementation of adaptations at the community scale. In numerous social science fields, adaptations are considered as responses to risks associated with the interaction of environmental hazards and human vulnerability or adaptive capacity. In the climate change field, adaptation analyses have been undertaken for several distinct purposes. Impact assessments assume adaptations to estimate damages to longer term climate scenarios with and without adjustments. Evaluations of specified adaptation options aim to identify preferred measures. Vulnerability indices seek to provide relative vulnerability scores for countries, regions or communities. The main purpose of participatory vulnerability assessments is to identify adaptation strategies that are feasible and practical in communities. The distinctive features of adaptation analyses with this purpose are outlined, and common elements of this approach are described. Practical adaptation initiatives tend to focus on risks that are already problematic, climate is considered together with other environmental and social stresses, and adaptations are mostly integrated or mainstreamed into other resource management, disaster preparedness and sustainable development programs. r 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

4,237 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: Objective. County-level socioeconomic and demographic data were used to construct an index of social vulnerability to environmental hazards, called the Social Vulnerability Index (SoVI) for the United States based on 1990 data. Methods. Using a factor analytic approach, 42 variables were reduced to 11 independent factors that accounted for about 76 percent of the variance. These factors were placed in an additive model to compute a summary score—the Social Vulnerability Index. Results. There are some distinct spatial patterns in the SoVI, with the most vulnerable counties clustered in metropolitan counties in the east, south Texas, and the Mississippi Delta region. Conclusion. Those factors that contribute to the overall score often are different for each county, underscoring the interactive nature of social vulnerability—some components increase vulnerability; others moderate the effects.

3,608 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Abstract: There is considerable research interest on the meaning and measurement of resilience from a variety of research perspectives including those from the hazards/disasters and global change communities. The identification of standards and metrics for measuring disaster resilience is one of the challenges faced by local, state, and federal agencies, especially in the United States. This paper provides a new framework, the disaster resilience of place (DROP) model, designed to improve comparative assessments of disaster resilience at the local or community level. A candidate set of variables for implementing the model are also presented as a first step towards its implementation.

2,614 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
Frank Ellis1Institutions (1)
Abstract: This article reviews the recent literature on diversification as a livelihood strategy of rural households in developing countries, with particular reference to sub‐Saharan Africa. Livelihood diversification is defined as the process by which rural families construct a diverse portfolio of activities and social support capabilities in order to survive and to improve their standards of living. The determinants and effects of diversification in the areas of poverty, income distribution, farm output and gender are examined. Some policy inferences are summarised. The conclusion is reached that removal of constraints to, and expansion of opportunities for, diversification are desirable policy objectives because they give individuals and households more capabilities to improve livelihood security and to raise living standards.

2,147 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
W. Neil Adger1, Terry P. Hughes2, Carl Folke3, Stephen R. Carpenter4  +1 moreInstitutions (5)
12 Aug 2005-Science
TL;DR: Social and ecological vulnerability to disasters and outcomes of any particular extreme event are influenced by buildup or erosion of resilience both before and after disasters occur.
Abstract: Social and ecological vulnerability to disasters and outcomes of any particular extreme event are influenced by buildup or erosion of resilience both before and after disasters occur. Resilient social-ecological systems incorporate diverse mechanisms for living with, and learning from, change and unexpected shocks. Disaster management requires multilevel governance systems that can enhance the capacity to cope with uncertainty and surprise by mobilizing diverse sources of resilience.

2,073 citations

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