Based on a literature review and two case studies, this article presents the difficulties inherent in the main disaster risk reduction conceptual models. The method used to highlight such evidence is to compare two programs on disaster risk reduction with mainstream conceptual models. The authors participated in these programs, which were confronted with the need to integrate contributions and insights from both earth and social sciences.
The authors found that the existing main conceptual models were unable to do justice to disaster risk reduction needs. This situation reflects the lack of consensus in defining disaster and disaster risk, based on the understanding of the relationships between its four basic components: hazard, exposure, vulnerability, and capacities. It also seems unlikely to assess disasters without taking into account natural elements and/or elements that are unalterable by humankind. The paper concludes that DRR conceptual models should more explicitly integrate the existing relationships between natural hazards, human-transformed hazards, and such other risk factors as exposure, vulnerability, and preventive policies.