Sensitivity—The degree to which social groups or places are initially harmed by exposure to a hazard.

Subnational—Any level of geography below national boundaries (e.g., regions, states, counties).

Sudden-Onset Disaster—“Big-bang” events—such as earthquakes, industrial accidents, or surprise attacks—whose surprise and sheer magnitude over a very brief period overwhelm the exposed population.

Vulnerability—The degree to which a system or unit (such as a population or a place) is likely to experience harm due to exposure to perturbations, stresses, or disturbances from natural, technological, or human-induced sources.

This glossary draws from the following sources and references:

GARM (Geographic Areas Reference Manual). Available online at

IASC (Inter-Agency Standing Committee), 2004. Civil-Military Relationship in Complex Emergencies—An IASC Reference Paper. 57th Meeting of the IASC, Geneva, Switzerland, June 16-17. Available online at DocView.asp?DocID=1219 [accessed February 6, 2007].

NRC (National Research Council), 2006. Facing Hazards and Disasters: Understanding Human Dimensions. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Weeks, J.R., 2005. Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, 9th edition. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Thomson Learning.

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