Images of Disaster Behavior: Myths and Consequences

Quarantelli, E. L.
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Disaster Research Center
Disasters have consistently captured human imagination. Throughout the Old Testament, the frequency with which disasters are central or incidental themes suggests that they have always been a familiar part of man's experience and they have been a rather constant setting for posing questions about man's existence and death. Today, an examination of the news media forces one to the conclusion that disasters continue to be worthy of attention. We accept this attention as natural, and perhaps it is, since disasters continue to provide the context in which significant human dramas are revealed. Disasters are perhaps one of the few situations in which there is both the opportunity for the expression of heroism as well as for the ability to confront fear and suffering, And this is played out on a rather dramatic stage for the spectators to see. For those persons whose lives are characterized by the repetitiveness of day-to-day living, disasters provide a vicarious contact with these rather universa1 themes.
disaster myths , disaster consequences , disaster behavior