Role of Technology in Managing Vulnerability to Natural Disasters, With Case Studies of Volcanic Disasters on Non-Industrialized Islands.
Master's dissertation completed by Ilan Kelman in July 1998.
Technology is one tool used and misused for managing society’s vulnerability to natural disasters. Many of the difficulties encountered result from neither technical problems nor the specific natural disaster event, but manifest because society errs in applying technology or in assessing the natural hazard’s severity. This study examines, critiques, and suggests improvements in this area.
One of the most challenging steps for an engineer is defining the design criteria which should be used to anticipate a system’s response during a natural disaster, because the design load input from a natural disaster is difficult to predict and select properly. An examination of non-technological influences, preventive engineering, and relevant boundaries and scales illustrates how to prevent vulnerability to natural disasters.
The concepts and models developed are applied to case studies of volcanic hazards on non-industrialized islands. The eruptions of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines (initial eruption in 1991) and Soufrière Hills in Montserrat (initial eruption in 1995) are examined.
River engineering: mitigates or abets disaster?
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Bethel, Montserrat after the 25 June 1997 pyroclastic flow and surge
Two conference abstracts resulted from this dissertation:
Kelman, I. and B. Karney. 1998. "Technology, Volcanoes, and Us". Presentation at the 23rd Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop, Boulder, Colorado, 12-15 July 1998, abstract (57 kb in PDF).
Kelman, I. and B. Karney. 1998. "The Role of Technology in Managing Vulnerability to Natural Disasters". An abstract for the 7th International Conference on Natural and Man-made Hazards (HAZARDS '98), Chania, Crete, 17-22 May 1998, abstract (67 kb in PDF).
As well, presentations on this work were given in Canada (to the University of Toronto), the U.K. (to Registered Engineers for Disaster Relief and to Darwin College), and New Zealand (to the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd).
Heimaey on the island of Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland which was evacuated in 1973 as a nearby volcano erupted.
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