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Concept of Disaster

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Describe the basic concept of the term disaster. Vulnerability and Hazard as a function when combines leads to disaster

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Concept of Disaster

  1. 1. Engr. Muhammad Zeeshan Ahad M.Sc Construction Project Management (UK) B.Sc Civil Engineering (Pakistan) Affiliation Royal Institute of Civil Engineers (U.K) Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (U.K) Pakistan Engineering Council (PAK) Head of Department Assistant Professor Civil Engineering Iqra National University
  2. 2. Disaster  The term disaster owes its origin to the French word “Desastre” which is a combination of two words ‘des’ meaning bad and ‘aster’ meaning star.  Thus the term refers to ‘Bad or Evil star’.  “A serious disruption in the functioning of the community or a society causing wide spread material, economic, social or environmental losses which exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources”.
  3. 3. Disaster  A disaster is a result from the combination of hazard, vulnerability and insufficient capacity or measures to reduce the potential chances of risk.  A disaster happens when a hazard impacts on the vulnerable population and causes damage, casualties and disruption.
  4. 4. Disaster – How do we Consider  Any hazard – flood, earthquake or cyclone which is a triggering event along with greater vulnerability (inadequate access to resources, sick and old people, lack of awareness etc) would lead to disaster causing greater loss to life and property.
  5. 5. ONLY WHEN IT AFFECTS  For example; an earthquake in an uninhabited desert cannot be considered a disaster, no matter how strong the intensities produced.  An earthquake is disastrous only when it affects people, their properties and activities
  6. 6. Disaster  Thus, disaster occurs only when hazards and vulnerability meet.  But it is also to be noted that with greater capacity of the individual/community and environment to face these disasters, the impact of a hazard reduces.  Therefore, we need to understand the three major components namely hazard, vulnerability and capacity.
  7. 7. Hazard  “A dangerous condition or event, that threat or have the potential for causing injury to life or damage to property or the environment.”  The word ‘hazard’ owes its origin to the word ‘hasard’ in old French and ‘az-zahr’ in Arabic meaning ‘chance’ or ‘luck’.  Hazards can be grouped into two broad categories namely natural and manmade
  8. 8. Natural Hazards  Natural hazards are hazards which are caused because of natural phenomena  Hazards with meteorological,  Geological or even  Biological origin.  Examples of natural hazards are:  Cyclones,  Tsunamis,  Earthquake and  Volcanic eruption which are exclusively of natural origin
  9. 9. Man Made hazards  Manmade hazards are hazards which are due to human negligence.  Manmade hazards are associated with:  Industries or  Energy generation facilities and include explosions,  Leakage of toxic waste,  Pollution,  Dam failure,  Wars or civil strife etc
  10. 10. Types of Hazard
  11. 11. Types of Hazard
  12. 12. Vulnerability  The extent to which a community, structure, services or geographic area is likely to be damaged or disrupted by the impact of particular hazard, on account of their nature, construction and proximity to hazardous terrains or a disaster prone area.”  Vulnerabilities can be categorized into:  Physical and  Socio-economic vulnerability.
  13. 13. Vulnerability  Physical Vulnerability:  It includes notions of who and what may be damaged or destroyed by natural hazard such as earthquakes or floods.
  14. 14.  It is based on the physical condition of people and elements at risk, such as buildings, infrastructure etc; and their proximity, location and nature of the hazard.  It also relates to the technical capability of building and structures to resist the forces acting upon them during a hazard event.
  15. 15. Vulnerability  Socio-economic Vulnerability  The degree to which a population is affected by a hazard will not merely lie in the physical components of vulnerability but also on the socioeconomic conditions.  Hazards are always prevalent, but the hazard becomes a disaster only when there is greater vulnerability and less of capacity to cope with it.
  16. 16. Capacity  “Resources, means and strengths which exist in households and communities and which enable them to cope with, withstand, prepare for, prevent, mitigate or quickly recover from a disaster”.
  17. 17. Formula for Disaster Risk  Disaster Risk (or recipe for disaster) has been presented by Ward, 1999 as follows:  Disaster Risk = Hazard * Vulnerability / Manageability  Manageability – the degree to which the community can intervene and manage a hazard in order to reduce its potential impact  Manageability is synonymous to capacity  Disaster Risk = Hazard * Vulnerability / Capacity
  18. 18. End of Session

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