Planning & Mitigation | VOL. 14, ISSUE 83, March-April 2014

Changing Landscapes of Disasters in India

Local risk landscapes are changing fast, with frequent and intense weather events, and societal and environmental stresses which are becoming increasingly uncertain and unpredictable. As a result, many current approaches towards landscapes disasters have only had a partial impact despite concerted efforts at development interventions. According to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters, Belgium, which maintains a global database on disasters, the frequency and intensity of landscapes disasters are on the rise. The Haiti earthquake in 2010, the 2011 floods in Thailand, hurricane Sandy in 2012, cyclone Haiyan in 2013 in Philippines, Phailin in 2013 in Odisha, and the Uttarakhand disaster in 2013, bring extreme weather events in focus. The 2012 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that extreme weather and climate events interacting with exposed and vulnerable human and natural systems can lead to landscapes disasters. Landscapes disasters reflect the spatially diverse and temporally dynamic patterns of exposure and vulnerability. Settlement patterns, urbanization, and changes in socio-economic conditions have all influenced observed trends in exposure and vulnerability. For example, coasts, small islands, mega-deltas, and settlements on mountains are exposed and vulnerable to climate extremes in both developed and developing countries, but with differences among regions and countries (IPCC, 2012). The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) ‘Hygo framework for action’, adopted in 2005 as a guiding...

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