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

Journal article

Caso, Nicolás; Dorothea Hilhorst & Rodrigo Mena (2023) The contribution of armed conflict to vulnerability to disaster: Empirical evidence from 1989 to 2018, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 95.

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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.

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