Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Sociology of Disaster

  • Alison HerringEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_326

Introduction

Disasters are viewed as an ever-present threat in our lives and appear to be on the rise; the past few decades have seen a growth in the number of disasters and the devastation caused by disasters (Mileti, 1999; Quarantelli, 1998; Waugh, 2007). The past decade alone has seen multiple disasters around the world: the 2004 South Asian tsunami which killed an estimated 230,000 people (Stern, 2007); Hurricane Katrina which hit the Gulf Coast in August, 2005 killed an estimated 1,325 people (Bullard and Wright, 2009); the 2005 northern Pakistan earthquake killed an estimated 80,000 people, and the more recent Japanese earthquake of 2011, killed an estimated 15,835 people (Saito and Kunimitsu, 2011). While these disasters are seen as having had a natural physical trigger, there are a variety of man-made disasters with comparable fatality rates, such as Chernobyl which occurred in the Ukraine in 1986 where the release of radiation reportedly affected 50,000 people, and the World...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA