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Different Types Of Disasters And Planning Implications

Disaster Research Center
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  • Disasters
  • Chemistry


In the first part of the paper we discuss how popular thinking, much disaster planning and some hazard research has tended to conceive of disasters in agent specific terms, that is , as hurricanes, chemical explosions, earthquakes, radiation fallouts, etc. We question the value of such an approach with its emphasis on physical features of an event, and also challenge the frequently advanced distinctions drawn among and between so-called “Acts of God”/ natural disasters, and technological/human created disasters. Instead the usefulness of thinking of disasters in generic or general rather than agent specific terms is suggested; in particular the value of conceiving of disasters as social phenomena is stressed. We specially note how a generic approach which views disasters as social occasions rather that physical happenings has important implications for the preparing for and managing of such social occurrences.

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