Welcome to RADIX:
Home for Radical Interpretations of Disasters
and Radical Solutions
Wisner and Maureen Fordham
The Radix discussion list has moved. we are now at: www.jiscmail.ac.uk/lists/RADIX.html where you can subscribe and email the list at: RADIX@JISCMAIL.AC.UK
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RADIX was inspired by
the earthquakes in El Salvador (13 January 2001) and Gujarat, India (26 January 2001), and
lingering doubts raised by the heavy losses in earthquakes in Armenia (1988), Kobe (1995),
and Turkey (1999), just to mention a few.
The focus of RADIX is not just earthquake and not just El Salvador or
India. It is meant as a home for discussion, working papers, opinion pieces, resources,
links that can help to develop radical interpretations of and radical solutions (see resources for low cost rural rebuilding) for
ALL disasters in ALL parts of planet earth.
By radical we mean fundamental or concerning root causes (hence the Latin, radix).
This web home is non-sectarian. We welcome any material that proposes to deal with
fundamental issues such as human rights, respect for diversity, translation of available
knowledge into action, the links among disasters, economic development, and politics.
We are non-sectarian, but by no means apolitical. One of the fundamental aims of this web
site is to put together into the same (cyber)space, groups that have not shared enough
with each other in the past: scientists, human rights activists, development workers,
government officials, business executives, environmentalists, media, popular culture
One aim of RADIX is to help build a constituency for finishing the
unfinished business of the International Decade for National Disaster Reduction, 1990-99.
The IDNDR created a vast network of scientists, but most of the knowledge pooled in this
way has not been applied. The unfinished business is to work toward an international
treaty that recognizes safety from preventable disaster to be a human right, and thus a
responsibility of governments. We cannot in this new millennium allow governments off the
hook when they turn a blind eye to violations of their own building codes and land use
restrictions. We cannot allow them to blame disaster on an "act of god". Please
go to the op-ed on
human rights if you are interested in these ideas. Please contribute your own idea,
and help us link with human rights activists.
What we need is something like the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that would coordinate the
contributions of thousands of scientists and technicians in an effort to identify and
eventually to write into treaty, or its technical annexes, currently available knowledge
about prevention and mitigation. The IPCC has effectively done this, linking the work of
many scientists around the work to refinements in the treaty making process associated
with global warming.
At this writing, the day of the Gujarat earthquake, 2000 deaths have been reported. That
number could rise by an order of magnitude. There are reports of modern high rise
apartment buildings collapsing in Ahmedabad. This is eerily reminiscent of the middle
class residences destroyed in Turkey in 1999 because contractors flaunted building code
requirements. Is this also the case in Ahmedabad?
Finally, we want to emphasize that this is a site for all regions and all fundamental
issues. What about drought, Sudan dioch bird infestations, Ebola virus in Africa? How are
populations made more vulnerable to these hazards by war, by government policies, by
misguided development projects? What about the spiking incidence of domestic violence
after hurricane Andrew in Florida and the Red River floods, both in the USA? What about
the fact that 40% of all deaths from tornados in USA occur in mobile homes - inhabited by
low income people? What about the special sensitivity training courses being run for the
Los Angeles Country Fire and Police Departments on the special needs of the trans-sexual
population when forced to evacuate and live in public shelters?
As these random examples should convince you, dear reader, RADIX is a
home for all of you concerned to understand disasters from the "roots" up, and
those concerned to prevent disasters from the "bottom up" as well as the
"RADIX, Year Two: Reflections
"RADIX, Year One: Reflections
See Disaster Diplomacy at www.disasterdiplomacy.org
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