HISTORICAL INCIDENTS OF EXTREME OVERCROWDING
BUREAU OF SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH INC WASHINGTON DC
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The primary orientation of the review was to gain knowledge of possible hazards to life and health under conditions of overcrowding that might occur in civil defense shelters. Various types of historical incidents have produced degrees of crowding--along with associated noxious and deprivational circumstances--far more severe and of longer duration than has been or can be subject to experimental test. Conditions beyond those ordinarily accepted as the limits of human tolerance have been withstood on many occasions by large proportions of the victims of certain catastrophic occurrences. In a number of other circumstances, including some involving only moderately intense crowding, very high death and impairment rates have been present. Physical crowding, per se, is not regarded as a fruitful unitary concept for examining the differences between high and low casualty events. For most of the range of densities, physical crowding has significance only in interdependent relationship with many other variable features of the entire situation, including environmental, structural, temporal, psychological, and social features. The acts of oppressive captors and epidemic disease were the most frequent direct causes of high fatality in the incidents reviewed.
- Civil Defense