grams that are compatible with community goals.

Additional research is needed to further understanding of the physical and social mechanisms of natural hazards and the disasters they precipitate. Research could lead to greater understanding of the causes of disasters, provide a foundation for improved planning, and lead to the development and implementation of cost-effective disaster reduction measures.

The new approach must enlist groups and disciplines not currently involved in hazard reduction. Educators, for example, can incorporate disaster preparedness and mitigation into school curricula, thus shaping the thinking of all citizens, including the next generation of engineers, architects, public administrators, and health professionals. Specialists in information technology and communications can contribute to improved emergency response. Local elected and appointed officials can use available research findings to ensure that development and reconstruction in their communities is hazard-resistant.

The scientific and technical knowledge — from basic research to implementation — exists to support this effort, but there are also significant constraints on the use of this knowledge. First, multidisciplinary disaster reduction efforts require a level of cooperation and coordination between specialties and organizations that is difficult to achieve. Second, only a limited amount of funding is available for the many

The 1989 estimated insurance payments for catastrophic losses due to high winds, tornadoes, floods, tropical storms, hurricanes, hail, severe winter storms, and earthquakes exceeded $7 billion. More than 15 catastrophic events — defined as events with insured losses exceeding $5 million each — occurred in 35 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. (Source: American Insurance Services Group, Inc., Property Claims Services Division.)

TABLE 1. ESTIMATED NATURAL CATASTROPHE LOSS PAYMENTS BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY, 1989

Month of Payment

States and Territories Affected

Estimated Million

January

AK, IL, IN, KY

$ 22

February

CA, CO, MS, MT, NC, OH, OK, TX, WA, WY

115

March

AL, AR, GA, MS

25

April

AL, AR, GA, IA, IL, IN, MO, NC, NE, OH, OK, SC, TX, WV

265

May

AR, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, LA, MO, MS, NC, NE, NM, OH, OK, SC, TX, VA, WI

675

June

AL, FL, LA, MD, MS, NC, NM, OK, SC, TX, VA

308

July

CT, LA, NJ, NY, OK, TX

137

August

NE, TX

55

September

GA, NC, NM, PR, SC, VA, VI (Hurricane Hugo: $4,195)

4,245

October

CA, TX (Loma Prieta Earthquake: $960)

995

November

AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MS, NJ, NY, PA, SC, VA

245

December

AL, AR, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV

555

 

Total

$7,642



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