Improving the Nation's Resilience to Disasters



A recent report by the U.S. National Research Council (NRC) [2012] argues that increasing the nation's resilience to hazards and disasters is a “national imperative.” Escalating disaster losses and the increasing frequency of billion-dollar loss events such as Hurricane Sandy portend an unsustainable future—one that the nation can ill afford. Disaster losses are occurring at a time of record unemployment, national debt, increasing disparities between the rich and poor, and major population shifts to coastal and other hazardous environments. Environmental degradation of many of the natural defenses against floods, storm surge, and wildfires continues unabated. The result is that routine events begin to have extreme consequences, and climate change may cause such events to become more intense, with even greater impacts and graver consequences than we have seen up to now [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 2012].