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Natural Disaster Reduction

Natural Disaster Reduction: South East Asian Realities, Risk Perception and Global Strategies

Dilip Kumar Sinha
Copyright Date: 2007
Published by: Anthem Press
Pages: 200
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  • Book Info
    Natural Disaster Reduction
    Book Description:

    The purpose of this treatise is to bring the characteristics of the disastrous events of the region to the fore, seeking to present not only the continuing fatalities and fragilities of the area, but also the possibilities for coping with natural disasters.

    eISBN: 978-1-84331-401-1
    Subjects: Environmental Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acronyms and Abbreviations (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Preface (pp. ix-xii)
    Dilip Kumar Sinha
  5. Prologue (pp. xiii-xvi)

    Any commentary on natural disasters must refer to the International Decade on Natural Disaster Reduction. Indeed, its acronym, IDNDR, has passed into popular parlance. The fairly well recorded deliberations on natural disasters and associated activities and programmes in the last few decades of the twentieth century need to be treated as precursors to certain phenomena in the twenty-first century. Unlike the Agenda 21 Declaration that was formulated in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, there was no equivalent international agreement in the area of disaster I tsunami control when the 26 December 2004 tsunami ravaged the coastlines of the Indian Ocean....

  6. Chapter 1 Overview of Disaster Scenarios in South East Asia (pp. 1-53)

    A fairly comprehensive overview of natural disasters across the world may be constructed with information available on the World Wide Web. For the purposes of this book, it is useful to classify natural disasters according to type and the countries of their occurrence. A geographical outline of each country in South East Asia (excluding the ones in the Pacific) enhances one’s understanding of natural disastersin situ. The ESCAP is a leading organization working in the field of natural disaster management and there are several others, like the UNCRD. In the following pages, natural disasters in South East Asia have...

  7. Chapter 2 The Context of the December 2004 Tsunami (pp. 54-70)

    Accounts of the tsunami occurring in the early hours of Sunday, 26 December 2004 still shock listeners/readers. Initially, only a handful of people near the Pacific Ocean were aware of the event. The next day, media activity erupted. Victims of the tsunami encountered difficulties unlike those caused by other disasters. Killer waves are common enough for the Japanese to whom we owe the word ‘tsunami’, literally a ‘harbour wave’. Despite the virtually negligible elevation of the sea level, the fury of the wave that rushed towards the shore took people by surprise.

    Broadly speaking, the response to the tsunami had...

  8. Chapter 3 A Résumé of Global Perspectives (pp. 71-85)

    The IDNDR generated a large number of activities and programmes. Although the structured and well-planned disaster relief and management programmes began during the IDNDR, a few distinctive endeavours may be seen as forerunners of the IDNDR, e.g. the United States Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (USDNDR). A few structured programmes were also undertaken in some developing countries. Notable among these was the 1987 endeavour by the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries. The third SAARC summit held in Kathmandu, Nepal, in November 1987 deliberated on the ‘impact that the environmental degradation including extensive destruction of forests and natural...

  9. Chapter 4 Coastal Vulnerability (pp. 86-88)

    The ocean continues to be an incredibly complex system. A rise in the sea level is considered a common phenomenon but it may not have been realized earlier that a deceptively small rise might herald a giant wave. 1988 was declared the International Year of the Ocean and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO spearheaded ocean-related activities and programmes. Policy infirmities have certainly hindered decisions on issues relating to the Indian Ocean. The contrast is evident when considers the policy attention devoted to the Pacific Ocean. The history of natural disasters shows that the community around the Indian...

  10. Chapter 5 South East Asian Milieus: Climatic Changes (pp. 89-94)

    Climatic change is a very broad concept, including global warming and rises in the sea level among numerous other phenomena. Ideas about global warming and rising sea levels have evolved over decades. Since the basic elements of these two phenomena are the atmosphere and the ocean, one cannot preclude the possibility of the escalation of circulation and air-sea interaction leading to tropical storms, thunderstorms, storm surges, etc. As the El Nino is often responsible for natural disasters, the relation between ENSO and climatic changes needs to be closely studied. Climatic change is related to vulnerability because of physical and social...

  11. Chapter 6 Early Warning Systems (pp. 95-104)

    Although the WCDR and the ASEAN summit in Indonesia built up a consensus for setting up an early warning system in the South East Asian region, the Declaration on Regional Cooperation in Tsunami Early Warning was formalized at the ministerial meetings in Phuket, Thailand on 28-29 January 2005. Cooperation was sought on a regional basis; emphasis was laid on collaboration with global bodies, thereby facilitating international cooperation. The IOC under the UNESCO and the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS) are two important organizations that help mitigate the impact of tsunamis and other disasters. The GEOSS is mainly concerned...

  12. Chapter 7 Impact of Hazards, Vulnerability and Development: A Critique (pp. 105-113)

    Both the IDNDR and the WCDR have provided a platform to deliberate on actionable steps after the tsunami. Conceptualization and realization are symbiotic and disaster mitigation is now looked upon as a development tool. The Hyogo Declaration clearly indicates that the reduction of vulnerability and the impact of hazards are prerequisites for development. While the WCDR attached importance to development, the need for sustainable development did not feature prominently in the declaration. This chapter outlines alternative means of development necessary when considering sustainability. The ways in which the impact of natural hazards may be reduced has been discussed, followed by...

  13. Chapter 8 Desideratum: The South East Asian Context (pp. 114-125)

    It is worth referring to theNatural Hazard Observer, Vol. XVII, No. 4 (1992) that dealt with the Bangladesh Flood Action Plan (FAP). The FAP was organized by the WB as a consortium of several organizations, following the heavy floods of 1987-8. It had a broad scope and a time frame of over a decade. Yet, it could hardly avoid persistent questions, during different phases, about the role and significance of its components. Did the proposed system of embankments threaten the long-term ecological and natural resource productivity of the delta? Would the embankments increase flood hazards in some areas and...

  14. Chapter 9 Global Support, Local Settings (pp. 126-128)

    It is widely agreed that any contemporary event or phenomenon has not only local but also global consequences. The relation between the local and the global must be recognized for efficient disaster mitigation measures to become operational. Active participation from experts, field workers and local and international activists would greatly assist disaster relief efforts and the IDNDR, the WCDR and some other recent summits held after the tsunami have established the broad patterns of global disaster mitigation efforts. Disaster risks and vulnerability can be checked only with the help of certain key elements of globalization. Social diversity and complexity ought...

  15. Epilogue (pp. 129-135)

    The foregoing chapters have outlined the influence of the WCDR and the Hyogo Declaration on disaster mitigation, not just in South East Asia but also globally. The flow of aid and relief that followed the 2004 tsunami is still fresh in people’s minds. Natural disaster management has received fillip from new sources and sectors and the possibility of introducing or strengthening insurance or even re-insurance is being explored, particularly in countries where financial support for relief and recovery has been in the nature of subsidies. This affects the budgetary allocations for natural calamities. Further, with the liberalization of the economy,...

  16. Appendix A Note on Damage Assessment (pp. 136-139)
  17. Select Bibliography (pp. 140-143)
  18. Back Matter (pp. 144-144)