Mitigation Emerges as Major Strategy for Reducing Losses Caused by Natural Disasters

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Science  18 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5422, pp. 1943-1947
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1943

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The International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction, a United Nations program for the 1990s, focused attention on the increasing losses caused by natural hazards and promoted actions to reduce their impacts. During this period in the United States, disaster managers and other officials increased emphasis on mitigation relative to response and recovery, especially in programs of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Many other nations and international organizations undertook similar efforts. Beyond the Decade, efforts should focus on improving risk assessments; implementing mitigation strategies; improving technologies supporting warnings and the dissemination of, and response to, warnings; improving the basis for natural disaster insurance; and assisting developing nations.

  • * The authors are members of the Board on Natural Disasters (BOND) of the National Research Council, 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20418, USA. Members of BOND: Wilfred D. Iwan,Chair, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena; Lloyd S. Cluff, Pacific Gas and Electric, San Francisco, CA; James F. Kimpel, University of Oklahoma, Norman; Howard Kunreuther, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Stephanie H. Masaki-Schatz, Ranchos Palos Verdes, CA; Joanne M. Nigg, Disaster Research Center, University of Delaware, Newark; Richard S. Roth Sr., Northbrook, IL; Harvey Ryland, Institute for Business and Home Safety, Boston, MA; Ellis Stanley Sr., Los Angeles, CA; and Frank H. Thomas, Loudon, TN. National Research Council staff contributing to this article are Robert M. Hamilton, Patricia A. Jones, and Stephen D. Parker.

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