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Natural Hazards and Disaster Management: Exploring New Areas of Research and Challenge in Geography

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Hazard and disaster are closely related. “……A hazard is a natural event while the disaster is its consequence. A hazard is a perceived natural event which threatens both life and property………. A disaster is the realization of this hazard…….” (Whittow 1980).

Disasters have been mankind's constant companion since long historical past. Generations after generations, people have been suffering from the consequences of disasters and accordingly recovered from the same, and life continued as usual. With the passage of time, the scenario has changed quite a bit. Of course, there has not been much reduction in the traditional disaster threat. But we have learned a lot to cope with these problems to a certain extent. Whatever may the effects of disasters, the largest sufferers are the less developed countries and economically weaker sections of the society.

In fact, man-made disasters’ threats have grown more severe. Increasing population has forced people to live in disaster prone areas. This is a growing phenomenon particularly in developing countries, for example, encroachment of human settlement in the flood prone areas of major river systems as well as on low islands, which increase the susceptibility to flood disaster.

Disaster has changed its face in the modern world, particularly since World War II. Increased social violence has drastically affected many nations and communities. Incidents of hijacking, terrorism, civil unrest and conflict with conventional arms have inflicted heavy burdens on the governments and societies whose existence is already unstable because of poor economic and social conditions. In addition, the threats from hazardous materials and nuclear accidents pose another modern problem for disaster management. The threat from possible nuclear war is almost beyond comprehension and in which even those countries can suffer a lot who are not directly involved in nuclear conflicts.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5848/CSP.1625.00010

Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Indian Geography in the 21st Century: The Young Geographers Agenda
    This book, primarily a collection of statements on action agenda to be pursued in geography in India, consists of nineteen chapters exclusively authored by the young geographers. It is organised into five parts: Part I provides "The Contextual Orientation", Part II contemplates on "Reshaping Geography Education", Part III explores "Resurrecting Physical Geography", Part IV looks at "Retrieving Human Geography", and Part V: "The Summum Bonum" attempts to garland the emerging thoughts. The book seeks to provide a peep into the future Indian Geography and serve professional geographers, researchers, teachers and students alike.
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