chapter  1
Disaster research: an introduction
Pages 18

Disasters can be frightening, devastating phenomena that change the lives of persons, the status of societies, and the fates of nations in mere hours, minutes, or even seconds. Sometimes catastrophic change is slow and almost invisible, but just as lethal and costly, if not more so, as sudden disastrous events. As individuals and as communities we try to avoid disasters if possible – and at the same time we prepare for the inevitable. We strive for robustness and resilience and attempt to avoid vulnerability and weakness. Furthermore, we continuously try to improve our knowledge and understanding of disasters in order to ‘build back better’.