‘Hazard’ describes any naturally occurring or human-induced process or event that may threaten human life, society, infrastructure and/or ecology. It includes environmental hazards such as earthquakes, landslides, floods and volcanic eruptions, but also technological or ‘man-made’ hazards for example nuclear meltdowns, banking crashes, land mines, contaminated land and the effects of anthropogenic climate change. Hazards research examines the cause of hazards themselves such as how the collapse of a mountainside leads to a landslide, but also how vulnerability to a particular hazard such as an earthquake can lead to disaster.
Hazards are often closely related to disasters. Disasters are social phenomena that occur when a community suffers significant damage and disruption due to their exposure and vulnerability to a hazard. Hazards are also connected to risk because they are perceived in terms of their probability to cause harm. In studying hazards researchers find ways to manage risk and disaster, but also provide insights into how communities affected by hazards can live with them by building resilience and reducing vulnerability.
We seek to reduce losses from hazards by:
- Undertaking high quality research that has real world applications.
- Encouraging discussion and debate around key aspects of hazard, risk and resilience.
- Linking researchers with practitioners, policy-makers and members of affected communities.
- Developing capacity to mitigate, recover from and adapt to hazardous events through training and partnership working.