▯ magine a particular geographic location with a fixed human population and
infrastructure (i.e. Kingston)
▯ et’s imagine we experience a hazard event (i.e. We go past the damage threshold: a
What are the three main factors that control how severe the hazard event is?
• The amount of waterintensity (how high beyond the damage threshold we go)
• How long the flooding takes place (how long do you stay in the hazard zone)…
short lived, high impact flood may result in less damage than a longlived, low
• How rapidly you move into the hazard zone (by a small amount of rain over a
couple weeks vs. a large rainfall over 12 hours)
Disaster if (three main factors):
a) Absolute amount: way too much or too little
b) Duration of event: too long
c) Rate of change: too fast
Important note: After a hazard event there are both losses and gains… some people lose,
some people gain
Ex. Hazard event: ice storm
Losses: power outages, trees down, no heat/food
Gains: tree cutting companies, generator companies, restaurants
When does a hazard event become a….
Population: number that are killed, number that are injured
Amount of property loss: money loss due to
Geographic area infrastructure
Group vs. individual: individuals house burns down vs. town burning down
Societal reaction: “just another earthquake”, “this is a disaster”, “this is catastrophic”
Why is the distinction between disaster/catastrophe important?
a) Governmental/world aid
b) Historical perspective: how often do really big events happen?
Truism in disasters: “the poor lose their lives while the rich lose thei