Rapid population growth and migration are related to the major
phenomenon of rapid urbanization. This process is also accelerated in developing
countries. It is characterized by the rural poor or civilians in an area of
conflict moving to metropolitan areas in search of economic opportunities and
security. These massive numbers of urban poor increasingly find fewer options
for availability of safe and desirable places to build their houses. Here again,
competition for scarce resources, an inevitable consequence of rapid
urbanization, can lead to human-made disasters.
Figure 1.3 Population
projections for some disaster-prone cities.
Many landslides or flooding disasters are closely linked to
rapid and unchecked urbanization which forces low-income families to settle on
the slopes of steep hillsides or ravines, or along the banks of flood-prone
rivers. Many earthquake victims in urban areas have been impoverished families
whose sites have failed rather than their houses, usually through landslides
onto the house or out from under it.
Figure 1.4 As population
continues to grow, settlements spread to marginal and even unsafe