Differences seem easier to discuss: while access to resources is a more readily apparent difference, another key difference between advanced and developing economies is the complex combination of governance, structural, environmental and social factors contributing to the differences in their economies. These factors (e.g. poorer infrastructure, corruption, pollution of water sources and deregulation thereof, internal conflict, etc.) reduce the capacity of a developing economy vs an advanced one to respond swiftly and appropriately to a disaster.

I found it quite interesting that the Recovery process of DRM involves working across the Social, Economic, Built and Natural environments, given this mirrors a focus in medicine on the ‘social determinants of health’. Several studies have shown that many health concerns, like diabetes or coronary heart disease, are strongly correlated to an individual’s psychosocial environment – exposure to smoking, higher stress, lower working conditions, living with more people in smaller quarters, etc. So these environments are not only crucial to address throughout Disaster Disk Management processes, but longitudinally to improve the health of a population. Not to mention how health and nutrition are one of the key aspects needing addressing in disasters, along with security, water and sanitation, food, shelter, education and the like. Given these intertwined factors are so important in DRM but also long-term prosperity of a given nation or community, factors that contribute to lower socioeconomic standards would also appear to lower a given nation/community’s resilience to disasters, and vice-versa.

It could be argued that some advanced economies have reached that point due to effective management of disasters – or alternatively, due to a lack of exposure to them (and thus, preparedness – e.g. Victorian 2009 bushfires). Thus another key difference – several developing economies have likely been exposed to significant disasters before, and key lessons to respond effectively to disasters likely lie in the local population – hence a need to empower them to coordinate their response to said disasters. (Therefore, the importance of PPM!)

But there are a lot of similarities too! Those exposed to the same type of disaster are often exposed to similar psychosocial stressors (displacement, anxiety, loss of loved ones, loss of role) irrespective of where they live; similar stresses are placed on local infrastructure and the natural environment. There are differences between cultural interpretations/evaluations of disasters and the ability of infrastructure etc. to limit the damage from a disaster of course, but the ‘base stressors’ remain very similar. Similar economic costs are involved too, although an advanced economy would naturally have greater capacity to meet said costs.