Geography of hazards
Large Scale disasters- Kelman
Should DDT be universally banned?
Pesticide synthesized in 1874
Used to control mosquito’s in WW2
It is hazardous for birds
Between 300-500 million cases of Malaria in the world each year
More than 1 million deaths (90% in Africa mostly children)
After an extensive DDT program, there were only 17 cases in 1963
DDT is one of the only affordable tools against mosquitoes
Important to keep context in mind
Perception is highly contextual and subjective
Perception is one of the central themes of the class, be sure to keep it in mind at all
What is a disaster?
Pakistani Floods- July 2010
Followed heavy monsoon
Estimates are that over 2000 people have died and over 1,000,000 homes have been
UN estimates that over 22,000,000 people have been injured or are homeless
That exceeds the combines total of the Haitian earthquake, Indian Ocean Tsunami,
and the Kashmir earthquake.
At one point 1/5 of Pakistan was under water
The UN sec- General asked for 450 million- half has been approved
Structural damage estimated at US $ billion Crop damage estimated at $500 mill
Total economic impact is US 43 million
** Need to know what happened, how it happened and why it’s important**
What is a perfect disaster?
Effects other countries as well
Countries were not prepared
Perfect disaster- if this were to happen in North America then we would be able to
recover faster, not having malaria etc.
1. Defined by the number of people affected and by the geography areas
2. An event that adversely affects a large number of people devastates a large
geographical area’s and takes the resources of local communities and central
Disaster risk reduction
Term developed to explain the process by which root causes of disasters need to be
identified and tackled
1. Events must be separate disaster occurrence vs. potential disaster
Disaster occurrence: between people, potential disaster means that the
potential for disaster is significant
What if society is not considered?
Disturbance definition: an event that removes organisms and opens up
space for other individuals to colonize
Why can this definition be described as neutral: it’s a replacement of species
2. Not confines to those resulting from rapid onset. For example soil
erosion, drought, hunger, war.
Catastrophic disasters: (Haitian tsunami),
chronic disasters ( everyday occurrence, occurs regularly, and overwhelms
the effected societies ability to cope, example hurricane season, waste
management) and Creeping disasters: something that happens ongoing, on going change, that
affects the societies ability to cope. Example: rising water levels, global
What are the political implications of such situations?
Requires global policy to be put in place. Results in multi tear government
Who else is affected by disasters?
Wildlife, crops, exports.
Disaster risk reduction
Example Famine: Is famine a discrete event or an integral part of the process
1. Should famine be tackled as the fundamental problem? No because it
comes from drought or flood and those other issues. Unstable
governments are also a major issue.
2. Are their underlying developmental causes that should be addressed?
Lack of knowledge, lack of infrastructure to be set up., dispersal of food, if
everyone were to be given an equal amount of food it would be 3500
calories, yet America wastes too much.
Do natural disasters exist?
“Natural disasters do not exist; they are socially constructed” – Turcious (2001)
“ Strictly speaking, there are no such things as natural disasters” – UNISDR (2002)
All disasters require human input
Nature provides input through a normal event but human decision put people at
Those decision are the root causes of a disaster, NOT ENVIORNMENTAL
Can you think of any examples of something that does not fit into the ‘natural’