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Vulnerability, Risks, and Hazards

  • By: John A. Cross
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Study of hazards involves the concepts of vulnerability, risks, and hazards, with hazards research evolving to include considerations of social vulnerability and resilience. Although public use of the words vulnerability, risk, hazard, and threat has sometimes been interchangeable, each word has its own distinct definition within the field of hazards geography.

Hazards

Hazards represent threats of potential damage or destruction to individuals and society. The actual hazard event, such as a flood, earthquake, wildfire, blizzard, or nuclear reactor accident, may result in a disaster if the incident results in substantial human disruption, whether measured by property damage, injury, or loss of life. An event must have the potential to be sufficiently disruptive of human activities to be considered a hazard, thus the physical magnitude of the event ...

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