| A world safe from natural disasters |
|Chapter 3: What puts Latin America and the Caribbean at risk?|
While risk is concrete and measurable, it is also relative and depends on how communities view it. People constantly attempt to diminish their vulnerability to hazards, while at the same time maintaining a balance between the risk and the benefits attached to. them. For example, living near a volcano presents the threat of an eruption, but provides the advantage of fertile lands for agriculture.
Calculating to make risks measurable makes them seem controllable. But it is one thing for planners to calculate risks and another for people to accept the calculations, want to act on them, and then have the means to do so. Many families who live in areas prone to the periodic flooding of rivers rebuild their dwellings on the same sites while awaiting the food, clothing, and building materials from agencies in charge of the emergency response. Planners view this risk of living on the river bank as unacceptable; for them, the idea solution is to relocate these people. But the people themselves are attached to familiar areas, may be more afraid of unknown hazards than familiar ones, and may insist on staying.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, important relationships exist between natural hazards, the particular vulnerability of each community or population group, and the risks each faces of suffering the effects of disaster. To convince people that they should take steps to become less vulnerable, and then give them a way to overcome the risk, is the vision of all who work in the field of disaster reduction.
To convince people that they should take steps to become less vulnerable, and then give them a way to over-come the risk is the vision of all who work in the field of disaster reduction.