Natural Hazards and Risk Perception

US, Mediterranean, North Africa, Middle East

Dr. Tom Paradise has an extensive background in hazards perception and disaster policy and preparedness across the US, Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. Since the 1990s while living, teaching and researching in Hawaii and the Middle East, Dr. Paradise has managed research and overseen scores of students conducting similar research on natural hazards, risk perception, hazards assessment and mitigation.  His current hazards research focus examines aspects of perception, hazards, natural disaster across religious communities (Muslim, Christian, Jewish)  How we modify our perception of natural hazards based upon faith and religion is the focus of his work and that of his graduate student team at the University of Arkansas.
With expertise in the earth sciences, architecture, building materials, cartography, and natural hazards, Dr. Tom Paradise is increasingly requested by foreign agencies to assist in the evaluation of seismic risk (and tsunami and volcanic-related quake activity), and regional and/or community policies. As this unique research agenda develops it has become clear that cultural differences and perceptions in risk assessment are dramatically influential. As a result, his team at the University of Arkansas’ Geosciences Department has started to investigate these similarities and differences by interviewing and surveying hundreds of individuals in high-risk communities.  300 people have been interviewed in Agadir, Morocco (2003), then 400 respondents in Messina on Sicily (2005), and 400 quake survivors in Northern Pakistan (2008). This extensive ongoing research project is being conducted in the hopes of establishing a huge network of related surveys and interviews to help understand why some communities prepare and plan for imminent disaster and others do not.
Some related recent publications by Paradise include:
Paradise, T.R. 2008. "Islam and Earthquakes: risk perception and the Qur'an". Journal of Islamic Law & Culture v10: 2, 213-229, doi: 10.1080/15288170802285447 
Paradise, T.R. 2007. "Earthquake, Islam & risk perception -- case studies from Morocco". Studies in Disasters & Gender, Northumbria University: 29pp
Paradise, T.R. 2006. “Perception of Earthquake risk in Agadir, Morocco: a case study from a Muslim community", in Environmental Hazards vol 6: 3, 167-180, doi: 10.1016/j.hazards.2006.06.002
Paradise, T.R. 2006. “Seismic Risk perception in the Muslim community of Agadir, Morocco”. in Journal of North African Studies vol 1, 3: 243-262.
Recent related research topics, theses, and dissertations include:
­ GIS analysis of environmental perception and aquifer mining across the Madaba Plain, Jordan (PhD 2008)
­ Post-Katrina Hurricane Risk Perception and Comparative Demographic Assessment, New Orleans (MA 2008)
­ Seismic Hazard and Risk Perception in Messina, Sicily (MA 2007)
­ Water resource and depletion hazard perception among rice farmers on the Arkansas Delta (MA 2007)
­ Assessment of flood hazard from Hurricane Jeanne on Hispaniola using GIS and remote sensing (MA 2006) 
­ Analysis of antecedent American terrorist activities using spatial visualization & GIS (MA 2006)
­ Seismic risk perception and architectural safety in Agadir, Morocco: 40 years after the great quake (MA 2005)
­ Safety from the Storm: risk perception analysis and safety in Tornado Alley (MA 2004)
­ Arkansas tornado risk perception and reality using GIS (MA, 2003)
­ Environmental degradation perception and ‘eco’-tourism in Wadi Rum, Jordan (slated MA 2009)
­ Before and after Hurricane Ike: perception of risk in Galveston, Texas (slated MA 2009)