Course Title: Hazards Risk Management

Changes in human activities

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Changes in human activities are probably the most significant cause of increases in the consequences of disasters.

  1. These trends, unfortunately, are predominantly increasing.

  2. While the effects of disasters worldwide are great, their consequences are the most devastating in developing countries. Smith (1992) lists six reasons for these changes (Smith, 1992)(see slide 2-9):

    1. Population growth

    2. Land pressure

    3. Economic growth

    4. Technological innovation

    5. Social expectations

    6. Growing interdependencies and complexities of systems and society

  • The instructor can ask students to consider the different hazards they face, and describe whether or not they feel that the risk from those hazards has changed over their lifetime, or in comparison to what they may have heard from previous generations in their families. If students describe any differences, the instructor can ask them to postulate why these changes may have occurred or are occurring.

  • Risk managers must be able to understand why trends occur, and why they change in rate or even reverse.

    1. It is not uncommon, for instance, for a trend to exist that is based on incomplete records, or for an incorrect classification of events.

    2. The technology used to detect many hazards has improved, allowing for detection where it formerly was much more difficult or impossible.

    3. Therefore, the lack of recorded instances of certain disasters may very possibly merely be based upon a lack of detection methods.

    4. Trends aren’t certainties, and because the driving forces behind them can reverse, so can the associated trend.

  • Recent trends indicate that:

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