Why we can no longer ignore consecutive disasters

In recent decades, a striking number of countries have suffered from consecutive disasters: events whose impacts overlap both spatially and temporally, while recovery is still under way.

02/28/2020 | 4:04 PM

The risk of consecutive disasters will increase due to growing exposure, the interconnectedness of human society and the increased frequency and intensity of non-tectonic hazard.  However, Current state-of-the art risk assessment models and their outputs do not allow for a thorough representation and analysis of consecutive disasters. IVM colleagues Marleen de Ruiter, Anaïs Couasnon and Philip Ward published a paper on consecutive disasters. 

This paper provides an overview of the different types of consecutive disasters, their causes and impacts. The impacts can be distinctly different from disasters occurring in isolation (both spatially and temporally) from other disasters, noting that full isolation never occurs. We use existing empirical disaster databases to show the global probabilistic occurrence for selected hazard types. The lack of understanding and the continues single-hazard approach is mainly due to the many challenges that are introduced by addressing and combining hazards of different nature, and accounting for their interactions and dynamics. Disaster risk management needs to be more holistic and co-designed between researchers, policy makers, first responders, and companies. Going forward, we need a paradigm shift to take a holistic view of risk that in its turn enables the development of more sustainable design of DRR measures and holistic risk management policies. Therefore, the authors present a research and policy road map for a more holistic approach to Disaster Risk Management. 

The open access paper can be found here: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2019EF001425