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Chapter 1 Disaster Education: An Introduction

Disaster Education

ISBN: 978-0-85724-737-7, eISBN: 978-0-85724-738-4

Publication date: 6 July 2011


It has been widely acknowledged that education takes on a pivotal role in reducing disasters and achieving human security in the attempt to achieve sustainable development. Previous experiences have shown positive effects of education in disaster risk management. Children who have been taught about the phenomenon of disasters and how to react to those situations have proved to be able to respond promptly and appropriately, thereby warning others and protecting themselves during times of emergencies. One of the classic examples illustrating the power of knowledge and education is the story of the 10-year-old British schoolgirl, Tilly Smith, who warned the tourists to flee to safety moments before the Indian Ocean tsunami engulfed the coast, saving over 100 tourists' lives in 2004. She had recognized the signs of an approaching tsunami after learning about the phenomenon in her geography lessons at school, just weeks before visiting Thailand (UN/ISDR, 2006a). Although the United Kingdom is not a tsunami-prone country and the schoolgirl did not have any previous experiences, with the knowledge acquired at school, she was able to save the lives of many.


Shaw, R., Takeuchi, Y., Ru Gwee, Q. and Shiwaku, K. (2011), "Chapter 1 Disaster Education: An Introduction", Shaw, R., Shiwaku, K. and Takeuchi, Y. (Ed.) Disaster Education (Community, Environment and Disaster Risk Management, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-22.



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