Disasters associated with mountain hazards have had considerable impact throughout the world, especially in least favored regions such as Asia and Latin America—as illustrated by the case of Puebla Province in the Sierra Norte, Mexico, devastated by an extreme precipitation event in October 1999. The effect of disasters on mountain areas depends on the spatial and temporal distribution of hazards, as well as the degree of vulnerability faced by the population. Given the nature of the planet, it is rather difficult to control hazards in terms of actual processes. The key to reducing disasters and their impacts is thus to focus on decreasing vulnerability and promoting prevention. The latter can be achieved to some extent by incorporating local knowledge and initiatives into the framework of public policy and decision-making.
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