Disasters: contributions of hazardscape and gaps in response practices
Disasters are frequent, ongoing and very likely to increase in the future with global climate change. Significant investments in hazard mitigation, policies and emergency management have so far failed to stop disasters. Their recurrences suggest that either there are some gaps in the current response or a different perspective is needed on the way hazards have been dealt with to date. This paper views disasters through the lens of hazardscape, which shows the context of both hazard occurrence and response. It finds that one major cause of response failure is inadequate consideration of the local hazardscape in planning. It notes that although globalization of hazard response practices is progressive, it has been less successful in dealing with local variations in vulnerability. This paper presents the conceptual framework of hazardscape, and illustrates various shortcomings of the current responses in relation to the local hazardscapes where they are adopted. It recommends a holistic approach that considers various aspect of the hazardscape in order to plan a response strategy.