Assessment Brief: You have been engaged by a Ministerial Policy Advisor to provide expert research and advice regarding the intersection of Natural Hazards and Human Vulnerability. You are to select the following topics and write a research essay, addressing the key question and concluding with evidence based, policy recommendations.

The topic is:
Tsunamis are only considered disasters because of the human context in which they occur. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Use examples of known tsunami events to illustrate your argument(s).

And this is the essay of the unit “Extreme Earth! Natural hazards and human vulnerability”. This unit takes as its starting point the catastrophes of our world today, such as droughts, earthquakes, epidemics, fires, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis and weather extremes, and seeks to provide a blended understanding between the mechanics and dynamics of these environmental phenomena with the social contexts in which these disasters occur. This subject analyses the wide range of environmental processes (hazards) that pose risks to human lives, livelihoods and settlements, and brings together physical and human geographical approaches to explore how risk in a chosen area is a function of both the hazards and the community’s vulnerability. Local and international case studies form a central component of this unit. As well, questions pertaining to the role of international aid and risk management (including mitigation, protection and adaptation strategies) will be discussed.

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