26 March 2012

Update on my talk on “The Hazards of Geography: Earthquakes, Floods and Landslides” in Hong Kong on 3rd April

Posted by Dave Petley

Further details on the talk that I will be giving in Hong Kong next week.  This is a public lecture, but I recommend that anyone planning to attend contacts the HKRGS in advance



The Hazards of Geography: Earthquakes, Floods and Landslides

Professor David Petley

Tuesday, 3rd April 2012

The Hong Kong Football Club, Causeway Bay

6.30 Drinks Reception; 7.30 Lecture

The Royal Geographical Society is delighted to welcome Professor David Petley to lecture on “The Hazards of Geography: Earthquakes, Floods and Landslides”.  In this talk, Professor David Petley examines the reasons why natural disasters continue to inflict such a high toll on society, despite greatly improved understanding of hazard processes, enhanced skills in anticipating and forecasting hazardous events, and a wealth of major international and national initiatives on disaster risk reduction.

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the occurrence of natural disasters, such as floods and landslides.  Furthermore, the economic cost of all natural disasters has risen rapidly, with the highest costs being felt across Asia.  There has been a series of disasters, such as the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2011 Japanese Earthquake, that appear to have taken the international community by surprise.

Drawing on his experiences of working in Nepal during landslides and floods caused by monsoon rainfall, Pakistan after the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Attabad landslide, China after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and New Zealand after the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, Professor Petley explores the ways in which social and natural processes combine to generate disasters.

The talk also examines the ways in which in global changes, such as the warming climate, the increasing population and the growth of large urban areas, are combining to enhance vulnerability to hazardous processes.  Professor Petley highlights the ways in which better understanding of these social and natural processes can start to reduce losses, showing for example the ways in which a combination of research and proactive management has reduced casualties from landslides in both Hong Kong and China.  Professor Petley argues that improved application of existing knowledge and skills, combined with targeted research and local capacity building, can begin to reduce the costs of earthquakes, floods and landslides on society.

Professor David Petley is Professor of Hazard and Risk at Durham University and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences.  He is the Honorary Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society.  Professor Petley read Geography at King’s College, University of London, where he was subsequently awarded his doctorate.  He has subsequently held academic posts at the universities of Sunderland and Portsmouth, before taking his Chair at Durham.  A world expert on geographical hazards, he has published more than 100 papers and advises governments and lectures worldwide.

Members and guests are most welcome to attend this lecture, which is HK$100 for Members and HK$150 for guests and others.

Fax: (852) 2140 6000
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.rgshk.org.hk
Tel: (852) 2583 9700