Social Impacts of Natural Hazards

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Social Impacts of Natural Hazards

The Cline Center is actively studying the way that natural hazards (such as extreme weather events like storms and floods) has an impact on societal well being. Most of the research done to date has involved merging our SPEED event data to natural disaster data to see how natural disasters impact civil conflict.  Through this analysis, we were able to publish a paper in the Journal of Conflict Resolution which examines the reaction of humans after a destabilizing, rapid-onset, disaster.  To learn more please see the paper below.

Climate Change and Civil Unrest: The Impact of Rapid-onset Disasters Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 59 No. 2, March 2015

This article examines the destabilizing impact of rapid-onset, climate-related disasters. It uses a sample of storms and floods in conjunction with two intensity measures of civil unrest to examine two perspectives on human reactions to disasters (conflictual, cooperative). It also uses insights from the contentious politics literature to understand how emotions posited by the conflictual perspective are transformed into destabilizing acts. While the data show that mean levels of unrest are higher in the wake of disasters, the means poorly reflect the data: the vast majority of episodes do not show higher levels of unrest. Moreover, even when higher levels of unrest emerge, they are not a simple reflection of disaster's human impact; this underscores the importance of the transformational process. Thus, a preliminary model of political violence is investigated; it employs impact, process and institutional variables and it explains three-quarters of the variance in the intensity of violence.