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Disaster risk management: Toward a spatiotemporal strategy

Source(s):  United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR)

Disasters as sociotechnical systems are complex and can be described as a source of instability for populations. In such systems, decision-makers need to address a specific problem: how to manage both time (delays) and resources (i.e., stocks) to make meaningful decisions?

Traditional models of accidents that exist to manage complex systems are inadequate and insufficient to deal with resources and time pressure due to uncertainty and level of instability within a sociotechnical system. Current disaster response organizations are also unable to handle a dynamic evolution of resources and delays to bring a structure back to stability.

The objective of this article is twofold. At first, it aims to define what complexity is and to introduce the concepts of delays and stocks (i.e. resources). This approach is nowadays important to appreciate a system’s performance and to control instability due to a need for risk-informed actions.

Second, it aims to introduce a trend for understanding disasters that results from theories of systems, and complexity. This new approach states that instability can be viewed as a spatiotemporal phenomenon that results from inadequate management of both spaces of resources and time (delays).

This paper is a contribution to the 2019 edition of the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR 2019).

To cite this paper: 

Hardy, K. Disaster risk management: toward a spatiotemporal strategy. Contributing Paper to GAR 2019

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  • Disaster risk management: Toward a spatiotemporal strategy
  • Publication date 2019
  • Author(s) Hardy, Karim
  • Number of pages 22 p.

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