La fabrique des catastrophes « naturelles »

Abstract : The making of “natural” disasters. To contribute an explanation for the increasing number of natural disasters, occurring especially in coastal areas, this paper highlights their root causes, i.e. the drivers and processes that make natural events, such as storms or tsunamis, turn into disasters due to the adverse impacts they have on human societies. Based on case studies, the authors identify four key and universal factors driving the generation of natural disasters throughout the world: the settlement of areas that are highly exposed to natural hazards, the degradation of natural buffers, the “myth of safe development” and the loss of environmental knowledge. The three case studies presented here illustrate the processes by which these drivers produce a “risk system” that will make a natural hazard generate a natural disaster: Tropical Cyclone Katrina in the United States (2005), the Xynthia Storm in France (2010) and the Sumatra Tsunami in the Maldives (2004). Based on the lessons learnt from these case studies, this paper outlines key principles for action, arguing in particular that tackling the root causes of current vulnerability is therefore a pragmatic pathway to implement adaptation to climate change.
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Alexandre Magnan, Virginie Duvat. La fabrique des catastrophes « naturelles ». Natures Sciences Sociétés, EDP Sciences, 2015, 23, pp.97-108. 〈10.1051/nss/2015033〉. 〈hal-01445925〉



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