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  • Writer's pictureCarina Fearnley

A classification of mitigation strategies for natural hazards

Updated: May 17, 2020

This is one of a series of blogs providing a brief overview of some of the key papers I have written in relation to early warning systems and disaster risk reduction measures:

Day, S. and Fearnley, C., (2015). A classification of mitigation strategies for natural hazards: implications for the understanding of interactions between mitigation strategies. Natural Hazards, 79(2), pp.1219-1238 (doi: 10.1007/s11069-015-1899-z).

This paper highlights the role of mitigation strategies in contributing to loss of life and increased impact of natural disasters. We propose an original and novel classification of mitigation strategies into three classes according to the timing of the actions that they prescribe (permanent, responsive, and anticipatory), and outline the concept of brittle failure. We use the north-eastern Japan tsunami mitigation system and its performance in the 2011 Tohoku disaster to provide examples of interactions between mitigation strategies that were destructive. We propose that the classification presented here would enable consideration of how the addition of a new strategy to a mitigation system would affect the performance of existing strategies within that system, and furthermore aid the design of integrated mitigation systems. This paper thus presents a significant new theoretical and conceptual framework from which to design and implement mitigation strategies, providing novel insights into some the latest lessons learnt from natural disasters. This paper is part of a series of publications in draft that continues to explore new approaches and understandings surrounding disaster risk reduction, and facilitating putting research into practice within the field.

The below figure provides an overview of the classification of mitigation strategies and their defining characteristics, as discussed in the paper.

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