Disaster Preparation Planning

Quarantelli, E. L.
Tierney, Kathleen J.
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Disaster Research Center
Most descriptions of disaster events place a great deal of emphasis on the damage done to life, physical structures and facilities. Financial estimates of the destruction caused by the disaster agent, together with accounts of the number of dead and injured, comprise the commonly accepted standard for gauging disaster severity. However, disasters also exact social costs over and above the damage to life and property. Indeed, it can be argued that it is precisely this element – the sudden disruption of social life – that distinguishes disasters from other destructive or costly events such as accidents, personal or family tragedies and economic depression. The notion that some degree of stress in community social organizations is present in all disasters is expressed explicitly in widely quoted definitions which define a disaster as an event, concentrated in time and space, in which a society or a relatively self-sufficient subdivision of a society undergoes severe danger and incurs such losses to its members and physical appurtenances that the social structure is disrupted and the fulfillment of all or some of the essential functions of society is prevented (Fritz, 1967:655); or as a collective stress situation when many members of a social system fail to receive expected conditions of life from the system (Barton, 1970:38).
disaster planning , financial costs , social costs