The Caribbean region is exposed to natural hazards and disasters associated with flooding, landslides, earthquakes and hurricanes in particular. Disaster management is governed by principles associated with the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to, and recovery from the impact(s) of hazards. The course aims to impart knowledge on each of these principles in relation to the processes associated with natural hazards and disasters, and to teach students how this knowledge may be applied to improve the state of preparedness and reduce the vulnerability of livelihoods and infrastructure in case of natural disasters. Given the relatively low levels of economic and social development in the region, and the need to raise these levels, risk reduction on the part of individuals and governments and other organizations should be a key part of each country's development goals.


The course will cover and build upon basic concepts of geology, geomorphology, tectonics, oceanography and geophysics in relation to the study of natural hazards, with special reference to the Caribbean region. It will examine hazards and risks related to volcanic and seismic activity, mass movement, hydro-meteorological phenomena, and coastal processes. An important focus will be on the mapping and analysis of hazards, vulnerability and risk. The course will examine theory, hazards, vulnerability, response capability, risk assessment, disaster scenarios, disaster management, preparedness, prevention, emergency response, and simulation. It will also cover natural hazards and related anthropogenic effects. It will deal with geotechnical and other approaches to natural hazard loss-reduction and management, as well as medical/health aspects of natural hazards and disasters. Case studies and examples of best-practice and failures in addressing disaster risk-reduction worldwide will be used to illustrate themes presented in the course.