The Vulnerable State: An Alternative View

  • James Lewis


International disaster research designed to develop methods to mitigate the social consequences of disaster rests on a key distinction between the proneness and vulnerability to disaster. The former concept refers to the frequency and magnitude of the physical events that constitute natural disasters; the latter describes and measures the impact of disasters by means of statistical and other methods. James Lewis of the United Kingdom urges a more conscientious adherence to impact analysis by the media, researchers, policy makers, and the public. Only then, he suggests, will the elements of programs for preparedness and prevention become clear, and only then will priorities for international disaster aid begin to relate to the actual human effects of disasters.


Natural Disaster News Medium Disaster Relief Disaster Preparedness Vulnerable State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A. Baird, P. O’Keefe, K. Westgate, and B. Wisner, Towards an Explanation of Disaster Proneness, Occasional Paper No. 11 ( Bradford, U.K.: University of Bradford, Disaster Research Unit, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Lewis, The Tamil Nadu Cyclone: A Comparison of Newspaper Reports ( Bath, U.K.: Unpublished Manuscript, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    R. R. Dynes, E. Quarantelli, and G. A. Kreps, A Perspective on Disaster Planning, Disaster Research Center Report Series No. 11 ( Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University, Disaster Research Center, 1972 ).Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    See, for example, J. Dworkin, Global Trends in Natural. Disasters, 1947–1973, Natural Hazards Research Working Paper No. 26 ( Boulder, Colorado: University of Colorado, Institute of Behavioral Science, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    J. Lewis, “The Disaster Research Unit,” Newsletter Number 3 (Bradford, U.K.: University of Bradford, Project Planning Centre for Developing Countries, July 1974 ), pp. 4–5.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Barbara J. Brown, Disaster Preparedness: The Role of the United Nations in Advance Planning for Disaster Relief ( New York: UNITAR, March 1978 ), pp. 72–82.Google Scholar
  7. 23.
    International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, World Bank Atlas: Population, Per Capita Product, and Growth Rates ( Washington, D.C.: 1977 ).Google Scholar
  8. 25.
    M. Gane, Report of a Mission to Assess the Hurricane Factor for Planning Purposes in Fiji, Occasional Paper No. 9 ( Bradford U.K.: University of Bradford, Disaster Research Unit, 1975 ).Google Scholar
  9. 26.
    J. Lewis, A Report to Establish Guidelines for the Management of a Regional Fund to Provide Insurance for Natural Disaster ( London: Prepared for the Commonwealth Secretariat and South Pacific Bureau for Economic Co-operation, May 1976 ).Google Scholar
  10. 27.
    J. Lewis, Mitigation and Preparedness for Natural Disaster in the Kingdom of Tonga ( London: Report Prepared for the Ministry of Overseas Development, August 1978 ).Google Scholar
  11. 28.
    K. Westgate and P. O’Keefe, Some Definitions of Disaster, Occasional Paper No. 4 (Bradford, U.K.: University of Bradford, Disaster Research Unit, 1976 ), pp. 61–65.Google Scholar
  12. 30.
    The Hon. Bradford Morse, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme, during lecture series delivered at Hague Academy of International Law, August 7–11, 1977 (unofficial version).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© UNA-USA 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Development StudiesUniversity of BathUK

Personalised recommendations