Hazards without disasters

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Science  15 Jul 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6296, pp. 201
DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4247

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A natural hazard need not become a human disaster if society learns and applies lessons in preparation and resilience. Earthquake history speaks well to this—engineered structures need to stand up to strong shaking. Chile learned this lesson before its 2010 earthquake of magnitude 8.8. Because it had already enforced seismic provisions of building codes, there was little loss of life due to damage to buildings. Engineered structures also performed very well during the giant 2011 Tohoku earthquake in northeast Japan; however, approximately 20,000 lives were lost to the ensuing tsunami. What survival strategies are available for communities at risk for tsunamis?

  • M.M. wrote this editorial while editor-in-chief of Science.