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Understanding Disaster Vulnerability

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Understanding Disaster Vulnerability

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  1. Understanding DisasterVulnerability Floods and Hurricanes

  2. Understanding Disaster Vulnerability • Natural disasters • Sudden • Different triggers • Interactions (among three overlapping systems) • Human social and cultural systems, • The built environment, and • The preexisting natural environments in which they are embedded. • While disasters always create community trauma, some residents of disaster-prone areas are much more vulnerable to extreme losses than others.

  3. Disasters and Denial • “city boosters” or “growth machines” • “avoid panic” • “everything is just fine” • “the problem can be kept under control” • Previous development decisions and cultural patterns have tended to ignore or downplay any potential for eventual catastrophe and shrug off the reality of risk inequalities in the name of encouraging “economic growth.”

  4. Think About Vulnerability • Physical Vulnerability – geographic & specific • Social Vulnerability – disaster victims’ ability to escape, survive, “bounce back” • The Intersection of Physical and Social Vulnerability • Racial and Class lines • Gender • Age

  5. Structural and Infrastructural Mitigation • Three Basic Options • Structural Mitigation (large engineering projects e.g. levees) • Infrastructural Mitigation (making systems resistant to damage e.g. roads, phone lines, power lines, gas lines, sewage & water) • Non-Structural Mitigation (keep people out of harm’s way e.g. zoning laws)

  6. Lessons Learned (or not) • Post-disaster mitigation • Flood insurance • How do we decrease vulnerability?