In Pursuit of Danger: Defining and Defending Hazard Zones

Mark Carey

in In the Shadow of Melting Glaciers

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780195396065
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199775682 | DOI:
 						In Pursuit of Danger: Defining and Defending Hazard Zones

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Two glacier avalanches from Mount Huascarán killed 4,000 people and destroyed the town of Ranrahirca and killed 15,000 people and devastated the city of Yungay in 1970, making it the most deadly glacier disaster in world history. Because these avalanches were unpredictable and uncontrollable, the Peruvian government tried more forcefully than it had during previous decades to implement hazard zoning to reduce disaster vulnerability in the Callejón de Huaylas. Local residents with different risk perceptions, however, successfully resisted zoning plans. In the process, glacier and glacial lake science became contested knowledge that various social groups sought to control. Ironically, locals opposed zoning to limit state intervention in their communities. But by inhabiting hazard zones they ultimately became even more dependent on state programs to monitor Cordillera Blanca glaciers and drain glacial lakes. As glacier experts tried to protect populations, they mediated between the centralized state and various local populations.

Keywords: Callejón de Huaylas; disaster vulnerability; glacier avalanche; hazard zoning; Ranrahirca; risk perceptions; Yungay

Chapter.  9448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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