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The Evolution of Disaster Risk Management: Historical Approach

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2021

Elham Rajabi
Health in Emergency and Disaster Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Jafar Bazyar
Health in Emergency and Disaster Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Vahid Delshad
Health in Emergency and Disaster Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Hamid Reza Khankeh*
Health in Emergency and Disaster Research Center, University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Corresponding author: Hamid Reza Khankeh, Email:


The concept of Disaster Risk Management (DRM) has changed throughout history. Identifying changes and related factors can be effective in adopting logical, scientific and evidence-based approaches in the future. Therefore, this study was conducted with the aim of depicting the process of changes in the concept of DRM and creating an original perspective. In this narrative literature review study, we used historical approach. Literature, regardless of the time of publication, was searched using divergent keywords including “disaster, health, emergency, management, risk, disaster medicine, and hazard.” DRM evolution started with the emergence of civil defense during the last century. Although DRM was initially focused on responses, currently, this concept includes disaster risk reduction (DRR) and disaster management. DRR includes prevention and mitigation, and disaster management includes response and recovery measures. DRR considering underlying risk factors such as social factors, and focusing on participation of communities are important steps to be taken.

Concepts in Disaster Medicine
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc.

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