Timeline: Classic DRR publications

This section contains fifty key publications and articles which substantially influenced DRR theory and practice during the Early DRR Days. Where available, a link to the publication (or preview) is provided. A number of these publications/articles were suggested by the DRR Pioneers, who were interviewed as part of the UNDRR "Early Days of DRR" initiative.

This selection of "Classic DRR "publications is inevitably influenced by the academic and professional background of those who compiled the list, as well as by the DRR pioneers, who were invited to identify the specific writings which influenced their DRR thinking most. This bias may be most evident in the selection of social/sociological aspects of disasters and less in publications that specifically deal with natural hazards. It nevertheless provides a good overview of those publications, which have shaped, with a noticeable delay, the thinking, practice, and policies during those Early DRR days. 

Another bias in this list, which needs to be mentioned, is the strong focus on Anglophone literature (only a few Francophone and Spanish publications are selected). This reflects the position of English as the dominant language in academic DRR publishing worldwide. 

An interesting first finding is that already in the '60s and '70s, despite the many publications during this period aimed at enhancing the understanding of natural hazards, their mechanisms and predictability, there was a substantial literature on the sociological and people-centred aspects of disasters, mainly in the USA (Jon W. Anderson, J.; Allen Barton; Gilbert White, …).

Much of the early DRR thinking (called "pre-disaster planning" at that time) stemmed from a critique of the international aid system, which was exclusively focused on providing relief to disaster-affected populations. Different authors (Frederick Krimgold, Tag Eldeen, Randolph Kent, and others) advocated for a paradigm shift towards more pro-active disaster preparedness, mitigation and prevention approaches.  

In line with this thinking, French anthropologists, such as Jean Copans and Claude Meillasoux, writing on the Sahel famine, underlined that disasters needed to be primarily perceived as a result of socio-economic factors (and the related vulnerability) than resulting of the natural phenomena itself. Also, early UK-based DRR scholars at Bradford Disaster Research Unit, such as Paul O'Keefe, P and Ken Westgate as well as Ben Wisner, asked in a pioneering article: 'Taking the naturalness out of natural disasters' in Nature (1976), for a radical rethinking of the term "natural disasters". Andrew Maskrey's 'Los desastres no son naturales', La Red/ITDG, translated this thinking into Latin American reality. This new approach was followed by a call by several authors to include vulnerability analysis and risk analysis as part of pre-disaster planning systematically (e.g. UNDRO (1979), Tag Eldeen (1981)). 

Building further on these new understandings, several authors stressed that disasters needed to be seen as inherently a development problem and could only be effectively addressed through developmental interventions. Studies such as the Comité du Sahel, "Qui se nourrit de la Famine?" (1975), Hartman & Boyce's "Quiet Violence" (1983), Fred Cuny's "Disasters and Development "(1983), Hagman's "Prevention better than Cure" (1984), Wijkman, and Timberlake's 'Natural Disasters. Acts of God or Acts of Man?' (1986) and Ann Varley's "Disasters, Development and Environment "(1994) were typical illustrations of those early efforts to bridge disaster and development thinking. 

Another related development were efforts to bring environmental science and human ecology thinking into disaster studies. Burton, I, Kates R.W. and White, G.F. , 'The Environment as Hazard' (1978) and Ken Hewitt's 'Interpretations of Calamity from the Viewpoint of Human Ecology' (1983) were typical examples of such an approach. 

In the late eighties, community-level DRR practice was gaining importance, which was reflected by Andrew Maskrey's 'Disaster Mitigation: A Community Based Approach' (1989) and Anderson and Woodrow's "Rising from the Ashes" (1989).   

In the meantime, UN agencies, such as UNDRO, UNHCS/Habitat, UNEP and WMO, and regional agencies, such as the Organization of American States and the Asian Development Bank, published technical guidelines on how to integrate disaster reduction into planning processes and policymaking effectively. 

Finally, at the end of the IDNDR, interesting new insights on the use of more inclusive participatory techniques and gender aspects were published. Examples were Von Kotze & Holloway's 'Reducing Risk' (1996), Khondker H.'s "Women and Floods in Bangladesh "(1996) and Enarson and Morrow's 'The Gendered Terrain of Disaster: Through Women's Eyes' (1998), which would considerably influence DRR theory and practice in terms of inclusiveness in the following decade. 

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