What's So Natural About Natural Disasters?

  • Climate and Water

In this video lecture, the authors examine human responses to natural disasters in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They begin by considering the function of technological systems in moments of disaster, discussing how disasters open up and expose the workings and vulnerabilities of man-made systems that are normally invisible. Continuing, the authors concentrate on the societal impact of natural disasters and epidemics. They note that these events disproportionately harm the less privileged, with the poorest and most marginalised groups typically suffering the most. This observation is supported by several examples. In the final section, they examine the political response to natural disasters, including a detailed analysis of President Bush's reluctance to act in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

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Author: Rosalind Williams, David Mindell, David Jones, Meg Jacobs, all Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT