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Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Research

Are disasters becoming more common?
We are interested in a wide range of natural and technological hazards and our work explores the characteristics of natural hazards and their impacts on people, communities and human systems.
Natural disaster research - bushfire

Our aims

Disasters take lives, cause devastation, impact individuals, families and communities and disrupt our socio-economic systems. On the face of it, it seems like disasters are becoming more common and devastating – but is this true?

Everyone is at risk from disasters – either physically or socio-economically. However, some individuals, families and communities seem more vulnerable and experience greater losses than others. Successful disaster risk reduction involves understanding something about the processes of hazard events but also the socio-economic, political and cultural contexts in which hazardous events trigger disasters.

Our academics who are involved with  Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Research areinterested in a wide range of natural and technological hazards and our work spans the interface between the human and earth environments/sciences - exploring the characteristics of natural hazards (distributions, frequencies & magnitudes) and their impacts on people, communities and human systems.

The goals of our work are to:

  1. enhance community resilience
  2. reduce losses from natural disasters
  3. develop appropriate disaster risk reduction strategies.

Our research

We focus on a wide variety of hazard and disaster risk related issues including (but not limited to):

  • Climate change, climate impacts, adaptation and management;
  • Bushfires, heatwaves, droughts and dust storms;
  • Tsunamis, storms, coastal floods and extreme inundations;
  • Earthquakes & volcanic eruptions;
  • Emergency risk management and planning;
  • Society, risk, perception and behaviour;
  • Vulnerability, resilience and adaptive capacity;
  • Urban planning, design and disaster

We are involved in field-based, modelling and analytical research both in the Australasia region as well as around the world and members of the hazards research cluster collaborate with experts and government emergency management agencies at the local to global levels.

Recent projects include:

  • Disability and Disasters: Empowering people and building resilience
  • Queering Disasters in the Antipodes: investigating the experiences of LGBTI people in natural disasters
  • Geological and social dimensions of volcanic hazards and risk assessment/management: Taal Volcano, Philippines as case study
  • Washed Away: Assessing the vulnerability of infrastructure in Sydney to coastal inundation
  • Assessing the risk to eastern Australia from tsunami triggered by submarine landslides
  • Why do Australians continue to die in natural disasters?

Our people

Core members of the group include:

In addition to the core group listed above, a significant number of other staff and students in the School of Geosciences are involved in hazard, risk and disaster related research.

Academics who specialise In Asia-Pacific Natural Hazards and Disaster Risk Research  are also active members of other Sydney University research clusters of excellence including the CITIES NetworkSydney Environment Institute and the Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity.


For information about opportunities to study with us, contact Professor Dale Dominey-Howes.


Lead researcher

Professor Dale Dominey-Howes
View academic profile