Disasters in ‘development’ contexts: contradictions and options for a preventive approach
The relationships between development and disaster offer a starting point for an overview of disaster risk reduction (DRR) in African contexts. A social vulnerability approach is adopted with its goal of improving conditions for persons and places most at risk. However, this approach faces serious contradictions in both the disasters and development scenes. Disaster events and losses have grown exponentially in recent decades. So have advances in disaster-related knowledge and the institutions and material resources devoted to disaster management. Evidently, the latter have not reduced disaster incidence or over all losses. Similar contradictions appear in development. The case for alternatives in development and DRR is reinforced, including the vulnerability-reducing responses highlighted in the Hyogo framework for action. However, this is being undermined by a return to a civil defense-type approach, an increasingly militarised, and for-profit, focus on emergency management.