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