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THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISASTERS

 THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISASTERS

THE CONSEQUENCES OF DISASTERS



The demography of disasters should be focusing the minds of planners and policymakers across governments and gongovernment organisations alike. In our immediate region, more than 16 million people live in littoral areas exposed to tsunamis, storm surges or sea level rise. More than 200 million people live within 50 kilometres of a volcano. More than 480 million people live in areas of high earthquake risk.1 While disasters have always been with us, where people live and how they live, means that the inhabitants of our region can expect to see events with the potential for higher death tolls, greater economic loss and greater burdens on infrastructure.

This book is the result of a cooperative effort between scholars and disaster response professionals that included an international conference at the Australian National University in September, 2013. Before you categorise this as the ‘book of the conference,’ think what ‘cooperative effort’ means.

No one has a monopoly on dealing with the effects of disasters. To be of value, academic work needs to inform prevention, mitigation and recovery efforts. Policymakers need evidence-based recommendations to inform their work. Disaster responders need to be informed of current-best practice and the things to avoid. There needs to be more effort put into building bridges
between those with the capacity for deep analytical work; those who work at the coal face of government policymaking; and those who deploy into the field to save lives.

What each of these groups has in common is reliance on shared intellectual capital, that body of knowledge and experience drawn from environmental awareness and an appreciation of the lessons of earlier disaster responses. Therefore, a focus on this ‘shared space’ is essential if we are to see cohesive disaster policies shape preventative and recovery efforts.


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