A SAFER FUTURE

Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters

U.S. National Committee for the Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction

Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL

NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS
WASHINGTON, D.C. 1991



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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters A SAFER FUTURE Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters U.S. National Committee for the Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction Commission on Geosciences, Environment, and Resources NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS WASHINGTON, D.C. 1991

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters NATIONAL ACADEMY PRESS , 2101 Constitution Avenue, N.W. , Washington, DC 20418 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competencies and with regard for appropriate balance. This report has been reviewed by a group other than the authors according to procedures approved by a Report Review Committee consisting of members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr Frank Press is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Robert M. White is president of the National Academy of Engineering The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an advisor to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medial care, research, and education. Dr. Samuel O. Thier is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Frank Press and Dr. Robert M White are chairman and vice chairman, respectively, of the National Research Council. This project was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Agency for International Development, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the U.S. Geological Survey to the National Academy of Sciences, as well as by the Thomas Lincoln Casey Fund of the National Research Council. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 91-62278 International Standard Book Number 0-309-04546-0 Additional copies of this report are available from: National Academy Press 2101 Constitution Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20418. S408 Cover art courtesy of the United Nations Printed in the United States of America

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters U.S. NATIONAL COMMITTEE FOR THE DECADE FOR NATURAL DISASTER REDUCTION RICHARD E. HALLGREN, Chairman, American Meteorological Society, Boston, Massachusetts TOM BRADLEY, City of Los Angeles, California LLOYD S. CLUFF, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, San Francisco, California ALAN G. DAVENPORT, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada LAWRENCE K. GROSSMAN, Gannett Center for Media Studies, New York, New York GEORGE W. HOUSNER, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena SHIRLEY MATTINGLY, City of Los Angeles, California FRANKLIN McDONALD, Pan Caribbean Disaster Preparedness & Prevention Project (PCDPPP), Kingston, Jamaica ROBERT L. ODMAN, State Farm Fire and Casualty Company, Bloomington, Illinois WILLIAM J. PETAK, University of Southern California, Los Angeles R. MAX PETERSON, International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, Washington, D.C. KENNETH W. POTTER, University of Wisconsin, Madison E.L. QUARANTELLI, University of Delaware, Newark LESLIE E. ROBERTSON, Leslie E. Robertson Associates, New York, New York EMILIO ROSENBLUETH, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, D.F., Mexico LACY E. SUITER, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Nashville Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Staff Director RILEY M. CHUNG, Director, Division of Natural Hazard Mitigation MARLA LACAYO-EMERY, Staff Officer SHEILA MULVIHILL, Consulting Editor ROBIN L. LEWIS, Photo Researcher COMMISSION ON GEOSCIENCES, ENVIRONMENT, AND RESOURCES M. GORDON WOLMAN, Chairman, The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland ROBERT C. BEARDSLEY, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts B. CLARK BURCHFIEL, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge RALPH J. CICERONE, University of California, Irvine PETER S. EAGLESON, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge HELEN INGRAM, Udall Center for Public Policy Studies, Tucson, Arizona GENE E. LIKENS, New York Botanical Gardens, Millbrook SYUKURO MANABE, Geophysics Fluid Dynamics Lab, NOAA, Princeton, New Jersey JACK E. OLIVER, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York PHILIP A. PALMER, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Newark, Delaware FRANK L. PARKER, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee DUNCAN T. PATTEN, Arizona State University, Tempe MAXINE L. SAVITZ, Garrett Ceramic Components, Allied Signal Aerospace Company,Torrance, California LARRY L SMARR, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign STEVEN M. STANLEY, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio CRISPIN TICKELL, Green College at the Radcliffe Observatory, Oxford, United Kingdom KARL K. TUREKIAN, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut IRVIN L. WHITE, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Albany JAMES H. ZUMBERGE, University of Southern California, Los Angeles Staff STEPHEN RATTIEN, Executive Director STEPHEN D. PARKER, Associate Executive Director JANICE E. MEHLER, Assistant Executive Director JEANETTE A. SPOON, Financial Officer CARLITA PERRY, Administrative Assistant

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters A familiar sight for Francisco — sections of the city lie in ruins after a massive earthquake. This scene, however, is not from 1989's Loma Prieta quake, but from the great 1906 quake.

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters PREFACE History is punctuated by disastrous events that destroyed lives and obliterated civilizations — the flood and the drought chronicled by the Bible, great earthquakes in China and Japan, the volcanic cataclysm that destroyed Minoan culture. Less spectacular but more frequent disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and landslides have been a chronic drain on individual and public welfare. In the 1990s, the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction provides a new opportunity to confront natural disasters and limit their damage. Science and technology now make it possible to anticipate hazardous events and protect people, property, and resources from their potentially devastating impacts as never before. The United Nations has declared this decade a time for the international community to “pay special attention to fostering cooperation in the field of natural disaster reduction,” and many U.S. voices, from the Congress to the American Red Cross, have declared their intention to join in the effort. Natural disaster reduction requires a complex mix of technical and social endeavors. There is no single prescription to fit every location and every hazard type, nor does any one discipline have all the answers. A distinguishing characteristic of the Decade is its call for all disciplines to work together, consciously seeking the challenges and frustrations of interdisciplinary communication that will yield practical strategies for disaster reduction. The U.S. National Committee for the Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction is an interdisciplinary group, with members drawn from such diverse fields as meteorology, sociology, civil engineering, and emergency management. For almost two years, we wrestled with the enormous range of disaster reduction needs and capabilities found in the United States and the world. Over time it became clear that rigid criteria and projects would not be adequate to the task. Rather, something more fundamental is needed. Reducing the impacts of natural disaster will require a shift in attitude and millions of solitary and collective actions. Individuals and governments must begin to think of disasters as literally “natural ” aspects of life that must be incorporated in day-to-day decision-making. The committee has sought to lay out a philosophy and a call to arms for the Decade. It is our hope that as a nation and a world we will now act to ensure a safer future. Richard E. Hallgren Chairman

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The Committee wishes to acknowledge the contributions of the federal liaisons from the Subcommittee on Natural Disaster Reduction (SNDR) of the Office of Science and Technology Policy's Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences and other participating agencies: William Hooke, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and chairman of the SNDR; Frederick Cole, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; Linda Donoghue, U.S. Forest Service; Robert P. Fletcher, Jr., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; G. Robert Fuller, Department of Housing and Urban Development; the late Robert Gale, U.S. Forest Service; Edward M. Gross, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Daniel Guzy, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission; Walter Hays, U.S. Geological Survey; Paul Krumpe, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; Christopher Newhall, U.S. Geological Survey; Steven Pedigo, U.S. Forest Service; Dennis Pendleton, U.S. Forest Service; J.E. Sabadell, National Science Foundation; Clive Walker, Soil Conservation Service; Louis S. Walter, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Richard Wright, National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Arthur Zeizel, Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Committee is especially indebted to Thomas Durham, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, for his extensive assistance with the preparation of the report. Special thanks for their contributions are also due to Jane Kushma and Robert Vessey, American Red Cross; Donald A. Wilhite, International Drought Information Center; Stephen Bender, Arthur Hyman, and Jan Vermeieren of the Organization of American States; Fred May, Utah State Division of Comprehensive Emergency Management; Robert M. Hamilton, Walter Hays, and Mary Ellen Williams, U.S. Geological Survey; David Morton, University of Colorado, Boulder; and Alcira Kreimer, the World Bank. The Committee wishes especially to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution made by Marla Lacayo-Emery as Staff Officer. She was indispensable in the development of the Committee's report — both in helping to set priority subject areas for inclusion and in ensuring that all chapters were written to a consistently high standard. The following individuals made constructive suggestions on the draft report and provided graphic material for the final report: James E. Beavers, Center for Natural Phenomena Study; Bruce Bolt, University of California, Berkeley; Myra Lee, Oregon Emergency Management Division; Peter J. May, University of Washington; William Riebsame, University of Colorado, Boulder; Adelin Villevieille, International Union of Technical Associations.

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters CONTENTS      Executive Summary   1  CHAPTER 1.   The U.S. Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction   7  CHAPTER 2.   Hazard and Risk Assessment   13  CHAPTER 3.   Awareness and Education   17  CHAPTER 4.   Mitigation   21  CHAPTER 5.   Preparedness for Emergency Response, Recovery, and Reconstruction   29  CHAPTER 6.   Prediction and Warning   37  CHAPTER 7.   Learning from Disasters   45  CHAPTER 8.   U.S. Participation in the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction   49  CHAPTER 9.   Organization of the U.S. Decade   57  APPENDIX   Hazard Reduction Checklist   61      Suggested Readings   65

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A SAFER FUTURE: Reducing the Impacts of Natural Disasters Huge waves caused by severe storms over water, called storm surge, can be as destructive as the storm itself, pounding the shore and washing away soil, roads, bridges, and buildings.