Why disasters have an unequal impact across society and how can we address such inequality

Associate Professor JC Gaillard (centre), Associate Dean (Postgraduate Taught and Masters), with Doctoral Candidates Anthony Gampell and Tanay Amirapu, Environment, Faculty of Science.

Our work focuses on reducing the risk of disasters. Disasters are not extra-ordinary events. They are events that reflect how resources and power are shared within everyday society. Disasters therefore highlight structural inequalities, including challenges with gender identity, age, ethnicity, physical ability and health. We thus aim to understand the vulnerabilities and capacities of those at the margin of society who are most affected by disasters, including ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, the homeless, prisoners and children. We further develop participatory tools, especially participatory mapping and quantitative participatory methods, to foster the participation of these minority groups in reducing disaster risk. We use these tools in collaboration with NGOs, governments and local people in Asia and the Pacific.