Introduction to International Disaster Management

Chapter 3: Risk and Vulnerability

Introduction to International Disaster Management
Introduction to
International Disaster Management

Risk Trends

Calculating Hazard Consequences

Climate Risk Assessment

Hazard Modeling

Vulnerability and Resilience

    • This Article in the New York Times by David Leonhardt (4/30/2021) explains how a combination of factors, each of which contributes to societal resilience, contributed to the prevention of an Ebola epidemic in 2014. Public sector response capacity alone would not have prevented this. Building social capital, increasing organizational competence, and other factors played a huge role in Nigeria’s response and this translates to any aspect of community resilience. CDC report on the crisis in Nigeria here.
    • This Article in the Atlantic by Uri Friedman explores Resilience as a form of national power revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Friedman argues that a country’s strength is determined not only by its military and economy, but also by how it is able to manage and bounce back from shocks and stresses. (November 15, 2020)
    • This article describes a report by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that found LGBTQ people are at higher risk in disasters. FEMA warned that minorities; single parents; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are “more likely than others to be severely impacted by disasters” and may need extra help. (Scientific American, 12/23/2020) The FEMA Report can be found here.
    • As disaster technologies become more prevalent, the digital divide is becoming a growing challenge. It is bot ha factor of physical location (in that some countries have less access than others), economic conditions (the poor generally have less access than others, or age (older people may not have the means to adapt as quickly to changing technological advancements. This article explains how the digital divide creates unique vulnerabilities for senior citizens as COVID-19 vaccine campaigns embrace newer technologies for distribution. (KHN, 2/4/2021)
    • When Climate Change and Xenophobia Collide (The New Yorker, February 16, 2021). This article describes how Bahamian officials created distrust during Hurricane Dorian by deporting more than 1000 illegal immigrants who had reported to emergency shelters. This has led to a decrease in likelihood that illegal immigrants who are already vulnerable, will seek assistance in a future event.
    • Environmental Justice is described by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be, ” the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin or income with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies.” The current head of the US EPA directed all offices to incorporate environmental justice into all plans and actions. (Government Executive, April 8, 2021)
    • Reading the Landscape for Fire (Bay Nature, January 2021): This article describes the value of cultural, traditional, and indigenous knowledge in building community resilience.

Mapping Vulnerability

Screenshot from “My Community Explorer” tool

Physical Vulnerability

Social Vulnerability

Economic Vulnerability

Risk Perception

De Minimis Risk

  • The Dirty Secret of America’s Clean Dishes (ProPublica, December 20, 2021): “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency aspires to minimize the number of people exposed to emissions that increase excess cancer risk above 1 in 1 million.”

The Concept of Risk Representing Uncertainty