Enhancing Disaster Preparedness - Chapter 14 - The links between vulnerability, poverty, and natural hazards: A focus on the impacts of globalization trends

Elsevier, Enhancing Disaster Preparedness, 2021, Pages 259-272
Mahmood Fayazi and Lisa Bornstein


Hazard-related literature often points to the vulnerability of societies and individuals to explain why disasters occur. Vulnerability theory considers the origins, progression, and possible outcomes of fragile conditions in the face of natural hazards. At the same time, development studies discuss the vulnerability of societies to poverty and its causal factors and often highlight how global trends exacerbate vulnerabilities and eventually contribute to unemployment increases, marginalization, and poverty. It is believed that these effects put communities at risk of natural hazards with devastating consequences. The relationship between poverty and vulnerability is, however, controversial and still unclear, both on theoretical and practical grounds. This chapter sheds light on the relationship between the vulnerability of societies to poverty (particularly in the face of global trends and globalization) and their vulnerability to natural hazards. The chapter proposes a new framework that clarifies how vulnerabilities are constantly created and transformed from one vulnerability to another one. The findings point to a conceptual approach that can help academics, practitioners, and decision-makers understand the origins of vulnerabilities and develop solutions to manage and reduce vulnerabilities and their possible adverse impacts.