Natural Disasters: 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Natural Disasters

1st Edition

By David C. Alexander


632 pages

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pub: 1993-07-29
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As a well balanced and fully illustrated introductory text, this book provides a comprehensive overview of the physical, technological and social components of natural disaster. The main disaster-producing agents are reviewed systematically in terms of geophysical processes and effects, monitoring, mitigation and warning. The relationship between disasters and society is examined with respect to a wide variety of themes, including damage assessment and prevention, hazard mapping, emergency preparedness, the provision of shelter and the nature of reconstruction. Medical emergencies and the epidemiology of disasters are described, and refugee management and aid to the Third World are discussed. A chapter is devoted to the sociology, psychology, economics and history of disasters.; In many parts of the world the toll of death, injury, damage and deprivation caused by natural disasters is becoming increasingly serious. Major earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, floods and other similar catastrophes are often followed by large relief operations characterized by substantial involvement of the international community. The years 1990-2000 have therefore been designated by the United Nations as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.; The book goes beyond mere description and elevates the field of natural catastrophes to a serious academic level. The author's insights and perspectives are also informed by his practical experience of being a disaster victim and survivor, and hence the unique perspective of a participant observer. Only by surmounting the boundaries between disciplines can natural catastrophe be understood and mitigation efforts made effective. Thus, this book is perhaps the first completely interdisciplinary, fully comprehensive survey of natural hazards and disasters. It has a clear theoretical basis and it recognizes the importance of six fundamental approaches to the field, which it blends carefully in the text in order to avoid the p

Table of Contents

List of tables




The global program

Definitions and basic concepts

Misconceptions about natural disaster

Time and space in disaster

Formulating intensity measures


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The Geophysical Agents

Earthquakes and volcanoes

The physical nature of earthquakes

Predicating earthquakes

The human impact of seismic hazards

The lessons of recent events


Volcanic eruptions


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Atmospheric and hydrological hazards








Glacier hazards

Snow as hazard to the urban system

Frost hazards


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Disasters and the land surface

Soil erosion



Seismically generated landslides


Soil hazards

Coastal erosion

Forest and range fires


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The Human Impact and Response

Damage and the built environment

Earthquake damage

Costing and surveying damage

Buildings, structures and public safety

Hazards and the urban environment

High-rise buildings in disaster

Dam disasters


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The logistics of planning and emergency action

Disaster and hazard mapping

Remote sensing and disasters

Models of disaster and their practical uses

Disaster warning

Planning for disasters

Disasters an

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Environmental Science
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General