Title

Terminology of natural hazardsand disasters: A review and the case of Brazil

Date of Publication

2021 12:00 AM

Security Theme

Natural Disasters

Keywords

srhreports, naturaldisasters, disaster, risk, hazard, vulnerability, resilience, capacities, terminology, Brazil, disaster risk management

Description

Disaster risk management is a challenging task that depends on the correct use of terms. However, the relevant terminology is not always properly established, especially when imported from other languages. This paper analyzes terms related to disasters caused by natural hazards from their early to current uses and applications. Additionally, a regional level analysis of disaster-related definitions was performed for Brazil. Based on this analysis, we suggest holistic definitions and approaches for the use of terms and their relationships. While the relevant terms have constantly evolved, it is noted that conflicts in their use—in either scientific, technical, or political environments—can result in contradictory usage, as exemplified by some Brazilian studies. The number of publications on this topic has grown since the 2000s due to technological diffusion and the increasing prevalence of climate change studies, which have contributed to a considerable increase in the use of terms such as capacity, resilience, and adaptation. Notably, the USA, Canada, and Europe are the main references for these terms. In other countries, few works have been dedicated to defining these terms, which has contributed to more damaging disasters. Providing adequate definitions for the disaster field is a complex task due to the variety of scientific areas involved. However, if the relationships between terms are well established, it is possible to adequately quantify the risk and improve disaster risk reduction. Developing countries can benefit greatly from this process since this can help them better apply their minimal resources with an emphasis on prevention and mitigation.

Share

Report Location

 
COinS
 
Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Terminology of natural hazardsand disasters: A review and the case of Brazil

Disaster risk management is a challenging task that depends on the correct use of terms. However, the relevant terminology is not always properly established, especially when imported from other languages. This paper analyzes terms related to disasters caused by natural hazards from their early to current uses and applications. Additionally, a regional level analysis of disaster-related definitions was performed for Brazil. Based on this analysis, we suggest holistic definitions and approaches for the use of terms and their relationships. While the relevant terms have constantly evolved, it is noted that conflicts in their use—in either scientific, technical, or political environments—can result in contradictory usage, as exemplified by some Brazilian studies. The number of publications on this topic has grown since the 2000s due to technological diffusion and the increasing prevalence of climate change studies, which have contributed to a considerable increase in the use of terms such as capacity, resilience, and adaptation. Notably, the USA, Canada, and Europe are the main references for these terms. In other countries, few works have been dedicated to defining these terms, which has contributed to more damaging disasters. Providing adequate definitions for the disaster field is a complex task due to the variety of scientific areas involved. However, if the relationships between terms are well established, it is possible to adequately quantify the risk and improve disaster risk reduction. Developing countries can benefit greatly from this process since this can help them better apply their minimal resources with an emphasis on prevention and mitigation.