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Public Service Canada
What makes a disaster?
Nov 3, 2002
Jan. 12, 2010
Mw = 7.0
~$14 Billion USD
2009 H1N1 Pandemic: 428 fatalities
- For comparison: ~3000 Seasonal
Influenza fatalities in 2009.
●2003 SARS Outbreak: 44 fatalities
- For comparison: 1671 alcohol-related
automobile fatalities in 2003.
- 2011 “Snowmagedon”?
- The 2008 “Economic Meltdown”?
- 2006 BSE Crisis (5 sick cows)?
Disasters are essentially a social phenomenon
that results when a hazard intersects with a
vulnerable community in a way overwhelms that
community’s ability to cope.
DISASTER = HAZARD x VULNERABILTY
Often associated with:
- Sudden onset and fixed duration
- Serious harm to safety, health, welfare,
property or environment
- Attention from media and government
-Declaration of disaster by a government
What can increase structural
●Aging built infrastructure
●Critical infrastructure interdependencies
●Unsustainable land-use planning
What can effect social vulnerability?