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Social Impact of Disasters

  • By: Jenniffer M. Santos-Hernández
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

Every year, disasters affect the lives of millions of people around the world in many different ways. For social scientists, the social impacts of disasters are the multiple effects that potentially destructive agents can have on society. The magnitude of a destructive agent is not defined by its physical characteristics, but by the level of disruption that it has on society and how it affects people and their livelihoods. Therefore, the disaster is not an illustration of the intensity or magnitude of the agent, but of the arrangements of a society. As a consequence, destructive agents with similar characteristics may have different social impacts for different groups, depending on the social arrangements of society. For a disaster to occur, it is necessary for the potentially ...

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