The contribution of armed conflict to vulnerability to disaster: Empirical evidence from 1989 to 2018

Nicolás Caso, Dorothea Hilhorst, Rodrigo Mena*

*Corresponding author for this work

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Disasters and armed conflicts often occur together, leading to severe consequences for affected populations. While qualitative investigations have explored how conflict can influence vulnerability to disasters, there is still a lack of systematic quantitative studies that provide broader evidence on the contribution of conflict to vulnerability. Although existing qualitative work has made progress in understanding potential mechanisms, large-scale quantitative studies are crucial for comprehending the scope of this relationship and attempting to isolate associations between specific variables. This study presents a statistical model using extensive large-N, cross-country data to address this research gap and analyse the conflict-disaster relationship. Analysing data from 157 countries between 1989 and 2018, we found a strong positive correlation between armed conflict and disasters. The results remained consistent across various model specifications and robustness checks. In countries experiencing armed conflict, disaster occurrence was observed 5% more frequently, disaster-related mortality per year was 34% higher, and deaths per million inhabitants were 16% higher compared to countries without conflict. While there is evidence that conflict can occasionally intensify disaster hazards, there is a greater evidence suggesting that the relationship between conflict and disaster operates through mechanisms that negatively affect vulnerability and response capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103881
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (Grant number 453-14-013) and by the European Research Council under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement 884139).

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