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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

4 - Disaster Preconditions and Pressures

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Summary

Hazards and disasters do not occur in a vacuum: they are guided by different preconditions and pressures, which can in turn shape responses in the immediate aftermath and over the long term. These pre-existing conditions and pressures may be basic environmental features of a region, well-established structural features of social organization or culture, or simply short-term processes occurring just before a hazard such as social revolt or migration. Chapter 4 makes an explicit distinction between pre-existing pressures connected to climate, environment, technology, and the economy and those connected to society such as institutions, poverty and inequality, and cultural values. Overall, we suggest that the diversity in pre-existing conditions and pressures seen across time and space played a significant role not only in the likelihood of hazards occurring throughout history, but also in the differing likelihood of hazards turning into disasters.

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