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The Concept of Disaster - Accidents and Catastrophes - Case Study Example

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This paper "The Concept of Disaster - Accidents and Catastrophes" focuses on the fact that the long lists of calamities that happened throughout history allowed the classification and in-depth study of their nature, initiation, and propagation in order to reduce man’s vulnerability to these risks.  …
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The Concept of Disaster - Accidents and Catastrophes
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Download file to see previous pages Accidents and catastrophes must be first understood within the more central concept of disaster. The term “disaster” and its meaning has been intensively debated and consequently, it has acquired several definitions in such a way that it becomes so multifaceted and open to a number of different interpretations. However, David Alexander (2000) wrote that, fundamentally, disasters are the sudden shocks to the socio-economic and environmental systems, which involve widespread destruction of property and involve a substantial number of human casualties. (pp. 20) The classifications of accidents and catastrophes could be traced back to the threshold values of disasters. This paper will specifically explore accidents and catastrophes in these context and several other variables identified in the following paragraph.
Again, there is no universal or globally standard definition for what constitutes an accident or a catastrophe but the difference may be demonstrated by this statement: An accident is an event causing death and/or property damage and that it becomes a disaster or catastrophe when the magnitude overrides normal response capabilities. So for instance, a road accident with fifteen injured people could be considered an accident in a major urban centre while it becomes catastrophic for a small village. Another important factor to be considered here is the significant disruption to public life. In this regard, Jay Levinson and Hayim Granot argued that the 1979 crash of a New Zealand aeroplane on Mt Erebus, which killed 257 fatalities would be termed an accident instead of a catastrophe because the course of public life was not disrupted. (pp. xi) Of course, this analogy is not enough to draw the line between accidents and catastrophes and that to further help in their classification, one could use the variable as to whether such events are man-made or caused by nature. An accident would most likely be man-made or technological in nature and that a catastrophe would usually be caused by nature.   ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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