otherwise significantly increase the total economic impact of these events. For example, property damage at the World Trade Center stemming from the 9/11 terrorist attacks amounted to $23 billion, but the costs for business interruption are estimated to have been around $100 billion (Rose and Blomberg, 2010).


FIGURE 1.2 Tornado damage in Joplin, Missouri, from the May 2011 tornado that struck the area, killing 159 people and injuring more than 1,000 others. The tornado was the single deadliest in U.S. history since such records have been kept. The tornado was 1 mile wide and traveled 22 miles on the ground (NOAA, 2011). Source: Charlie Riedel/AP Photo.

What happens to the magnitude of these losses of lives, livelihoods property, and community in the future as our population increases and our infrastructure ages and expands if we maintain the status quo and our nation does not improve its resilience to hazards and disasters? What does effective disaster resilience look like for the nation, for our communities, and for our families? What steps need to be taken to become more resilient in the near and long term?


Decisions by communities, states, regions, and the nation regarding whether to invest in building resilience are difficult. If building the culture and practice of disaster resilience were simple and inexpensive, the nation would likely have taken steps to become more resilient already. Making the choice either to proceed with the status quo—where concerted investments and planning do not take place throughout the country to increase disaster resilience—or to make conscious decisions and investments to build more resilient communities is weighted by a few central points:

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