Encyclopedia of Natural Hazards

2013 Edition
| Editors: Peter T. Bobrowsky

Time and Space in Disaster

  • Thomas Glade
  • Michael James Crozier
  • Nick Preston
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4399-4_52

Disasters in time and space

Early attempts to define disasters were based on the exceedence of certain loss thresholds. For instance, Sheehan and Hewitt (1996) classified as disasters all those events that killed or injured at least 100 people or caused at least US $1 million damage. This definition was further developed in more qualitative terms, e.g., by UNDRO (1984) “… an event, concentrated in time and space, in which a community undergoes severe danger and incurs such losses to its members and physical appurtenances that the social structure is disrupted and the fulfillment of all or some of the essential functions of the society is prevented.” Other definitions reduce the term disaster to those events where “.. large numbers of people exposed to hazard are killed, injured or damaged in some way …” (Smith, 2004, p. 5). In this context, Smith also states, that “there is no universally agreed definition of the scale on which loss has to occur in order to qualify as a disaster.”...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Glade
    • 1
  • Michael James Crozier
    • 2
  • Nick Preston
    • 2
  1. 1.Geomorphic Systems and Risk Research, Department of Geography and Regional ScienceUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.School of Geography, Environment and Earth SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand