Encyclopedia of Medical Anthropology

2004 Edition
| Editors: Carol R. Ember, Melvin Ember


  • Jody Glittenberg
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-29905-X_17

Importance of Understanding Disasters

Disasters, no doubt, have always been part of human history, long before literate societies emerged to record them, yet, in the 21st century they have become increasingly significant in shaping human societies. The ever-increasing global population tends to cluster around points of geophysical niches prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, flooding, and droughts. And, the ever-increasing industrial use of energy, much of it non-renewable, promotes destruction of vital resources leading to potential catastrophes, such as global warming. The vulnerability of marginalized populations, such as refugees and migrants, has increased as many people are separated from long-standing sociocultural support systems. Indeed, massive and rapid global communication and transportation capabilities make us, as a human village, more urgently in need of understanding disasters. Recognizing the importance and urgency of dealing with...


Disaster Relief Squat Settlement Disaster Research Guatemala City Relief Agency 
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© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 2004

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  • Jody Glittenberg

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