Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management

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Chapter 1
In the case of Category 3 hurricanes affecting similar numbers of exposed people, about 46 per cent of the variance in mortality risk is explained by vulnerability (UNISDR, 2011a

UNISDR. 2011a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Revealing Risk, Redefining Development, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
). This means that if effective actions are taken to address social and economic vulnerability and to strengthen resilience, disaster risk can be significantly reduced. Disasters such as the one that unfolded in New Orleans in 2005 cannot be blamed on extreme natural events or on “bad stars”, but rather on the lack of a political and economic imperative to reduce risks.
Disaster risk is normally considered a function of the severity and frequency of the hazard, of the numbers of people and assets exposed to the hazard, and of their vulnerability or susceptibility to damage. From that perspective, dis-astrum and kata-strophe are not opposing or mutually exclusive disaster types, but rather different layers of risk.
The most intensive risk layers, which are characterized by very low-frequency but high-severity losses and are normally associated with extreme hazard events such as the Indian Ocean tsunamis, manifest as dis-astrum. The more extensive risk layers, which are characterized by high-frequency but low-severity losses and are associated with localized and recurrent hazard events such as flash floods, landslides and storms, manifest as kata-strophe. In the more intensive risk layers, it is the hazard and exposure that dominate the risk equation, while in the more extensive layers vulnerability plays a larger part.
The risk profile of most countries includes a range of risk layers. However, in most contexts, disaster risk reduction has been approached through an interpretation of disaster as dis-astrum, as a set of practices to protect development against exogenous threats rather than to prevent or avoid the generation and accumulation of risks within development. This interpretation has influenced and permeated the practice of disaster risk management and its effectiveness in achieving the policy objective of disaster risk reduction.
Figure 1.3 The Hyogo Framework for Action
(Source: UNISDR, 2005

UNISDR. 2005,Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disasters, Extract from the final report of the World Conference on Disaster Reduction (A/CONF.206/6). Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
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