Welcome to the CapHaz-Net project homepage!
Despite long-lasting attempts to mitigate and reduce the damages due to natural hazards and a constant accumulation of scientific and practical knowledge, the human and economic losses caused by disasters are not decreasing. On the contrary, they have increased significantly in Europe over the past decades.
Avalanche in the Alps
photo: bmlfuw – die.wildbach, Austria
To find explanations for this paradoxical development, CapHaz-Net was particularly concerned with people's capacities and how they are influenced by contextual conditions. We thus speak of »social capacities« to stress this intention. CapHaz-Net did not consider the physical conditions of a hazard. We rather regard the occurrence of a disaster as a result of lacking capacities to anticipate, cope with and recover from the impact of a natural hazard. It is these conditions which transform a natural hazard in a social disaster. The central question CapHaz-Net was dealing with was therefore:
How can we enhance the capacities of European societies to prepare for, cope with and recover from the negative impacts of a ›natural‹ hazard?
Offical start of building a new flood protection wall in Grimma (Germany) in Spring 2009 - seven years after the last major flood in 2002
photo: André Künzelmann, UFZ
CapHaz-Net was not a closed circle, on the contrary: We gave interested researchers, practitioners and stakeholders from across Europe the opportunity to contribute with their expertise, experiences and opinions. CapHaz-Net was a network of those who share an interest in the social dimensions of natural hazards. There were different ways of interacting: On a regular basis we organised workshops which were open to participants with a special expertise. We provided interested people and institutions with information via 3 policy briefs. Our results are accessible on the public parts of our website and are open for feedback. We are particularly interested in concrete case studies from across Europe, from any spatial scale or cultural context.