Abstract for: Natural Disasters and Poverty: Understanding the Systemic Complexity

The disastrous effects of natural hazards on human lives are easily recognizable and quantifiable. While poverty reinforces people’s vulnerability to natural hazards, disasters make their already precarious conditions worse. This creates a vicious circle that may result in poverty traps. Even though mitigation and preparedness appear as the logical strategies to deal with natural risks, the expenditures that government make on that activities are far from the required ones. Natural Disasters and poverty, as were portrayed above, conform a complex and dynamic system that requires a proper conceptualization in order to capture such dynamic complexity as well as the conflict between short and long term policies. In this paper we design a causal loop diagram to capture the main feedback loops and the strategies attained to each one. It is organized as follows: a concept framework about natural disasters and poverty is presented, followed by a review of Systems Dynamics literature regarding natural disasters. The paper proceeds with the design of the causal loop diagram in stages, closing with some conclusion about the challenges that come up building resilient communities