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SPATIAL PATTERNS AND DISTRIBUTION OF DISASTERS IN THE OIC MEMBER COUNTRIES
[ Ali Asgary, ] - Associate Professor of Disaster and Emergency Management,School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries are exposed to a large number of natural and technological hazards and many characteristics of these countries make them particularly vulnerable to the impacts of these hazards. As a result most of the OIC member countries are among the most disaster prone areas of the world and have experienced significant number of disasters, human casualties and economic losses during the past century. Continuation of this trend in the future should be a major area of concern for the OIC. Disasters could delay the development process because they take away a significant proportion of resources accumulated from development investments over many years. While studies have been done to map and describe the patterns of disasters at international and country levels, little research has been done about disaster patterns and their distributions at the OIC level. A better understanding of such patterns and trends could help these countries to enhance mutual learning and experience sharing by creating common institutional frameworks. In order to improve collective capacity of the OIC countries in disaster and emergency management, it is important to understand the characteristics, location, frequency and magnitude of the past disaster events and their impacts on people and properties. Mapping is a central tool in disaster risk management. Maps can show the spatial distribution of different types of disasters in different countries and provide the users with an understanding of the existing patterns and potential trends. Hazard and disaster mapping is a critical step in determining the risk to populations, infrastructure, and economic activities. A clear understanding of the hazard and disaster trends and their distribution in the OIC countries would be the first step in this regard that must be followed by more detailed hazard and risk mappings. This paper tries to review and map disasters and their human impacts in the OIC countries in the past 110 years using the EMDAT database in order to create some pictures of similarities and differences in disaster impacts to facilitate collective actions. The main aims of this paper are: 1) to provide a comprehensive review of disaster events in the OIC countries using existing data sources; 2) to map and visualize disaster events in the OIC countries to provide some insights into the spatial distribution of disasters among these countries and develop a common framework for collective disaster management efforts for these countries.