National earthquake hazards program at a crossroads


  • Randy Showstack


The US. National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program, which turns 25 years old on 1 October 2003, is passing through two major transitions, which experts said either could weaken or strengthen the program.

On 1 March, a federal government reorganization placed NEHRP's lead agency the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), within the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). A number of earthquake scientists and engineers expressed concern that NEHRFP, which already faces budgetary and organizational challenges, and lacks visibility could end up being marginalized in the bureaucratic shuffle. Some experts, though, as well as agency officials, said they hope DHS will recognize synergies between dealing with earthquakes and terrorist attacks.