Localities of Hazards and Disasters: a New Third World for Regional and Rural Environments in Developed Economies (17190)
The vulnerability of rural-regional communities and the associated risks of hazardous energy production in an unstable environment were brought to world attention following the 2011 Great Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami, Japan, and the recent coalmine fires in Victoria, 2014. The regional community in an economically advanced nation has come to rely on and trust the judgement and expertise of governments and developers for the community’s wellbeing in these precarious settings. Japan’s tsunami survivors now have to rely on those same stakeholders and role-players for their region’s and communities’ redevelopment. Current research and discussion in Japan highlights the lack of coordination in management and maintenance of its regional coastline infrastructure and community protection. Similarly, management and maintenance of Australian coalmines and regional communities are presently under investigation. In Japan, there has been a call for social scientists to play a role in the coordination and management of its coastal development projects, currently the domain of engineers. Geographers are well situated to provide research for such projects that include the assessment of risks and hazards that accompany regional energy production. This paper focuses on disaster mitigation and community vulnerability, drawing parallels with Fukushima in Japan and Morwell in Australia.