resilience. In the case of investors and financial institutions, flood-related financial risk may not always be recognized or understood, especially if the institutions are managed from outside the immediate region of the dam or levee infrastructure. A major dam or levee failure in one location can have repercussions for commercial risk managers, and enterprise- and supply-chain risk management anywhere in the world.

The public faces numerous and competing risks related to natural hazards. Focusing public attention on risks that are relatively low from a probability perspective (e.g., the risk of dam failure) is difficult, even if the consequences are very high. It is important that decision makers understand and appreciate the nature of potential flood hazards and the range of potential outcomes so that they can assess the effects on livelihood and the options available to reduce risk through avoidance, mitigation, or risk transfer (such as through insurance).

Effective Communication and Coordination

Disaster preparedness—including efforts to inform the public of risks and of response options—occurs before infrastructure failure. A resilient community is able to communicate and coordinate effectively among those with important roles in community disaster mitigation, emergency preparedness and response, and in recovery, as well as with civic, business, and other community leaders. Resilience is largely dependent on trust—building trusted relationships between community leaders, members, and stakeholders. If community members trust their leaders, they are more likely to be responsive to the information their leaders disseminate. Stakeholders more broadly may not have the same kind of relationship with local community leaders, and therefore communication with them must be purposeful and targeted to build trust. In addition to the ability to prepare for disaster, a resilient community has the ability to respond rapidly when failure occurs; this may involve, for example, arrangements for rapid mobilization of coping resources to facilitate effective and timely restoration of services and a rapid return to normal functioning.

Capacity to Adapt

A resilient community has the ability to learn from disastrous events that occur locally or elsewhere, and is able to institute measures to safeguard the community from future events. A community may learn that the former status quo may not be in its best interest if that way of functioning could be sustained as a result of a disaster. A “new normal” that is resilient to known hazards might be more appropriate. Resilient communities take advantage of opportunities to increase community security and robustness, resulting in even greater resilience.

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