Drinks (cash bar) from 6.30 pm lecture starts at 7.30 pm
tickets HK$100 RGS HK members and HK$150 non members
In this talk, Professor David Petley examines the reasons why natural disasters continue to inflict such a high toll on society, despite greatly improved understanding of hazard processes, enhanced skills in forecasting hazardous events and a wealth of major international and national initiatives on disaster risk reduction.
In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the occurrence of natural disasters, such as floods and landslides. Furthermore, the economic cost of all natural disasters has risen rapidly, with the highest costs being felt across Asia. There has been a series of disasters, such as the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2011 Japanese Earthquake, that appear to have taken the international community by surprise.
Drawing on his experiences of working in countries hit by natural disasters Professor Petley explores the ways in which social and natural processes combine to generate disasters.
His experience includes Nepal during landslides and floods caused by monsoon rainfall, Pakistan after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Attabad landslide, Sichuan, China after the 2008 earthquake and Christchurch, New Zealand after the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes,
The talk also examines the ways in which in global changes, such as the warming climate, the increasing population and the growth of large urban areas, are combining to enhance vulnerability to hazardous processes. Professor Petley highlights the ways in which better understanding of these social and natural processes can start to reduce losses, showing for example the ways in which a combination of research and proactive management has reduced casualties from landslides in both Hong Kong and China. Professor Petley argues that improved application of existing knowledge and skills, combined with targeted research and local capacity building can begin to reduce the costs of earthquakes, floods and landslides on society.
Professor David Petley is Professor of Hazard and Risk at Durham University and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He is the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society. Professor Petley read Geography at King's College, University of London, where he was subsequently awarded his doctorate. He held academic posts at the universities of Sunderland and Portsmouth, before taking his Chair at Durham. A world expert on geographical hazards, he has published over 100 papers, advises governments and lectures worldwide.