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

6 - Effects of Disasters

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Summary

Chapter 6 discusses the effects of disasters. It distinguishes between effects in the immediate aftermath of the disaster – mortality and demographic recovery; land loss and capital destruction; economic crisis; and blame, scapegoating, and social unrest – and longer-term structural consequences – societal collapse; economic reconstruction; long-term demographic change; reconstruction, reform, and social changes; and redistribution of resources. This chapter argues that disasters, even similar ones, did not always produce homogeneous outcomes. Furthermore, rather than being totally damaging or even controversially regarded as a ‘force for good’, the effects of disasters are best assessed by making a basic distinction between the aggregate level and the distributive level: disasters could be instrumentalized to benefit a certain segment of a given population over others.

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