13 November 2012

Tackling unnatural disasters

IIASA researchers study the risks and potential impacts of natural disasters, helping communities, countries and the international community plan ahead in order to reduce the large burdens from disaster.

© Cowardlion | Dreamstime.com

© Cowardlion | Dreamstime.com

Hazards are caused by natural forces, yet increasingly disasters happen because of people, who locate in hazardous areas or do not take the precautions necessary to reduce their vulnerability. While natural hazards like hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, drought, and landslides cannot be prevented, the risks of disasters to people and their assets can be avoided and reduced.

Researchers in IIASA's Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability program say it's important to understand and model risks ahead of time in order to identify efficient and acceptable options that reduce and transfer risks. RPV researchers do that by applying research techniques such as catastrophe modeling, statistical and economic analysis coupled with stakeholder dialogue aimed at reducing the vulnerability and exposure of developing, transition and industrialized countries to the impacts of extreme events. Read more about their work in the articles below.

Linking climate change, extreme events, and risk

Options Magazine, Summer, 2012. IIASA research is helping quantify the links between climate extremes, natural disasters, and socioeconomic vulnerability. More

Fiscal planning for extreme events

Options - Winter 2011/2012. IIASA analysis has supported the Mexican government in trying to identify how best to prepare financially for a major natural disaster. More

Beating the poverty trap

Options Magazine, Winter 2011: People unable to escape from poverty without external help are caught in what’s commonly termed a “poverty trap.” Even people who are not extremely poor can be forced into a state of inescapable poverty by extreme events like floods or drought. Disaster microinsurance can offer resources for poor households to overcome the immediate impacts of natural disasters, but recent IIASA research shows that microinsurance, when integrated with additional adaptive measures, is much more effective than microinsurance alone in preventing people from falling into a poverty trap in the first place. More

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Last edited: 14 November 2012


Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer

Emeritus Research Scholar Equity and Justice Research Group - Population and Just Societies Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 308

Reinhard Mechler

Research Group Leader and Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

T +43(0) 2236 807 313

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
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