Hazards, Disasters and your Community - A Primer for Parliamentarians

31 Dec 2004
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Summary

The document presents an overview of different kinds of natural hazards, their causes and effects, mitigation strategies, and community-based preparedness plans. It also specifies the role of policymakers beyond relief and rehabilitation, to focus on building resilience against the impact of natural hazards.


The document presents an overview of different kinds of natural hazards, their causes and effects, mitigation strategies, and community-based preparedness plans. It also specifies the role of policymakers beyond relief and rehabilitation, to focus on building resilience against the impact of natural hazards. Apart from causes and effects of natural disasters, the document also lists out effects of natural disasters on economy and development. Disasters can wipe out the grains of economic development. Catastrophic disasters result in the destruction of fixed assets and physical capital, interruption of production and trade, diversion and depletion of savings and public and private investment. While absolute level of economic loss are greater in developed countries due to the far higher density and cost of infrastructure and production levels, less developed countries suffer higher levels of relative loss when seen as a proportion of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At the local level, disasters can seriously impact household livelihoods and push already vulnerable groups into poverty. The loss of income earners, through death or injury, the interruption of production or access to markets and the destruction of productive assets, such as home-based workshops, are all examples of ways in which disasters affect local & household economies. The capacity of a household or local community to absorb the impact and recover from a major natural hazard will be seriously limited if already weakened overtime by a series of smaller-scale losses. Disaster risk management falls under global trends of causing policymakers to rethink the institutional setup of governments, and the roles and responsibilities of different levels of government in achieving developmental objectives. Actors such as local governments, municipal authorities and local communities play an increasingly important role in emerging national disaster risk management systems.

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