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Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative (2012)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

Disaster
Resilience

A NATIONAL IMPERATIVE



Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS   500 Fifth Street, NW   Washington, DC 20001

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 competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This study was supported by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under award number W912HQ-10-C-0071, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service under award number 09-DG-11221637’351, U.S. Department of Energy under award number DE-PI0000010, U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under award number DG-133R-08CQ0062, Department of Homeland Security HSHQDC-10-C-00087, Federal Emergency Management Agency under award number HSFEHQ-11-C-1642, Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey under award number G104P00079, National Aeronautics and Space Administration under award number NNXIOAN3IG, and Community and Regional Resilience Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory under award number 4000090613. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project.

ISBN-13: 978-0-309-26150-0
ISBN-10: 0-309-26150-3
Library of Congress Control Number: 2012953228

Additional copies of this report are available for sale from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu/ .

Cover: Conceptual design by Eric Edkin; design layout by Anne Rogers

Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and 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. Ralph J. Cicerone 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. Charles M. Vest 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 adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg 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. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
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Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters

Susan L. Cutter (Chair), Carolina Distinguished Professor and Director, Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute, University of South Carolina, Columbia

Maj. Gen. Joseph A. Ahearn (Retired), Senior Vice President, CH2M HILL Ltd, Colorado

Bernard Amadei, Professor of Civil Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder

Patrick Crawford, Director of Disaster Services, Feeding America, Chicago, Illinois

Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., Glenn L. Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park

Michael F. Goodchild, Professor, Department of Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

Howard C. Kunreuther, James G. Dinan Professor of Decision Sciences & Public Policy, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Meredith Li-Vollmer, Risk Communication Specialist, Public Health Seattle and King County, Washington

Monica Schoch-Spana, Senior Associate, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland

Susan C. Scrimshaw, President, The Sage Colleges, Troy, New York

Ellis M. Stanley, Sr., Director of Western Emergency Management Services, Dewberry LLC, Atlanta, Georgia

Gene Whitney, Energy Research Manager, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC

Mary Lou Zoback, Consulting Professor, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Staff

Lauren Alexander-Augustine, Associate Executive Director, Division on Earth and Life Studies, and Director, Disasters Roundtable

Elizabeth A. Eide, Director, Board on Earth Sciences and Resources, and Study Director

Neeraj P. Gorkhaly, Research Associate

Eric J. Edkin, Senior Program Assistant

John H. Brown, Program Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

 

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy

Richard N. Zare (Chair), Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor in Natural Science, Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, California

Linda M. Abriola (ex-officio), Dean of Engineering, Tufts University

Claude R. Canizares, Vice President for Research and Associate Provost and Bruno Rossi Professor of Experimental Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Moses H. W. Chan, Evan Pugh Professor of Physics, Pennsylvania State University

Ralph J. Cicerone (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Sciences

Paul Citron, Vice President (Retired), Technology Policy and Academic Relations, Medtronic, Inc.

Ruth A. David, President and Chief Executive Officer, ANSER (Analytic Services, Inc.)

Harvey V. Fineberg (ex-officio), President, Institute of Medicine

C. Dan Mote, Jr. (ex-officio), President Emeritus and Glenn Martin Institute Professor of Engineering, University of Maryland

Percy A. Pierre, Vice President and Professor Emeritus, Michigan State University

E. Albert Reece, Vice President for Medical Affairs, Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, School of Medicine, University of Maryland

Susan C. Scrimshaw, President, The Sage Colleges

William J. Spencer, Chairman Emeritus, SEMATECH

Michael S. Turner, Rauner Distinguished Service Professor, Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, The University of Chicago

Charles M. Vest (ex-officio), President, National Academy of Engineering Nancy S. Wexler, Higgins Professor of Neuropsychology, Columbia University

Staff

Kevin Finneran, Director

Tom Arrison, Program Officer

Neeraj P. Gorkhaly, Research Associate

Marion Ramsey, Administrative Associate

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

Preface

Disaster resilience is everyone’s business and is a shared responsibility among citizens, the private sector, and government. Increasing resilience to disasters requires bold decisions and actions that may pit short-term interests against longer-term goals. As a nation we have two choices. We can maintain the status quo and move along as we have for decades—addressing important, immediate issues such as the solvency of the National Flood Insurance Program, the most effective ways to discourage development in high-risk areas, and how to improve the speed and effectiveness disaster response. Or, we can embark on a new path—one that also recognizes and rewards the values of resilience to the individual, household, community, and nation. Such a path requires a commitment to a new vision that includes shared responsibility for resilience and one that puts resilience in the forefront of many of our public policies that have both direct and indirect effects on enhancing resilience.

The nation needs to build the capacity to become resilient, and we need to do this now. Such capacity building starts with individuals taking responsibility for their actions and moves to entire communities working in conjunction with local, state, and federal officials, all of whom need to assume specific responsibilities for building the national quilt of resilience. In the context of this report, the committee has used the term “community” in a very broad sense, encompassing the full range of potential communities—including local neighborhoods, family units, cities, counties, regions, or other entities. Defining a community as part of the nation’s sense of collective resilience is a very site-specific endeavor, and the committee wanted to address this report toward the many kinds of communities that exist across the country.

Enhancing the nation’s resilience to hazards and disasters is a laudable aspiration, but as is the case with such lofty goals, the devil is in the details. Although few would argue about the need to enhance the resilience of the nation and its communities to natural hazards, conflicts arise over how to move toward enhancing resilience, how to manage the costs of doing so, and how to assess its effectiveness. As we have seen, the costs of disasters are increasing as a function of more people and structures in harm’s way as well as the effects of the extreme events themselves. These costs are being incurred at a time when more and more communities are financially constrained and unable to pay for essential services such as public safety and education. The choices that local communities have to make are thus difficult and not without some pain. At the

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
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same time, federal, state, and local governments have their own sets of constraints in terms of budget priorities, national interests, aging and declining infrastructure, and the political realities of implementing the kinds of changes needed to increase resilience. Disaster resilience may not be on the forefront of a political or institutional agenda until a disaster strikes one’s own community. Political will and strong leadership are therefore essential to build resilience at any level.

The full range of roles and responsibilities, the broad stakeholder constituency, and even the iterative nature of building resilience are reflected in the sponsorship for this study, in the committee composition (Appendix A), and the information-gathering process used during this study. The nine study sponsors play different roles in monitoring and research, provision of data, community leadership, emergency management, disaster response, and short-term recovery. The committee comprises individuals with expertise in physical science and engineering, geographical science, social and behavioral science, economics, and public health, with professional experience from research, public policy, emergency and disaster management, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and government service. In many ways, resilience emerges as a topic that unites different groups with the goals of creating a common dialogue, reducing losses, and decreasing vulnerability to hazards and disasters. The committee and sponsors reflect this unity of purpose.

For this study, “national” does not equate to “federal.” The stakeholders and audience for this study extend beyond the Washington, D.C. governmental community, and the experiential information necessary to understand national resilience lies in communities across the United States. To try to collect some of these regional experiences and information and the diversity of hazards faced in various parts of the country, the committee held three open meetings in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast; Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa; and Southern California (Appendix B). Although many of the examples in the report are drawn from these three regions, the ideas and lessons are applicable to many communities across the nation. Discussions in workshops held in each of these three regions were supplemented by field excursions in the local communities to collect vital information about the successes and challenges people and institutions face in their efforts to become resilient to disasters. These three regions of the country were selected by the committee because each possesses a large amount of direct experience in building resilience through disaster preparedness, absorbing and responding to disasters, and in disaster recovery, adaptation, and mitigation.

Although the committee discussed very specific issues and broad hazards and disaster policies, we made a decision to offer recommendations that we, as a committee, felt were actionable by local, state, and federal interests and stakeholders in the short, medium, and long term. Implementation of these recommendations requires bipartisan support and involvement by private interests as well as those in the nonprofit sector.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

Enhancing the nation’s resilience will not be easy, nor will it be cheap. But the urgency is there and we need to begin the process now in order to build a national ethos that will make the nation safer, stronger, more secure, and more sustainable for our children and grandchildren.

Susan L. Cutter, Chair
July 2011

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
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Acknowledgments

In addition to its own expertise, the committee relied on input from numerous external professionals and members of the public with extensive experience in public policy, emergency and disaster management, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, government service, research, and personal and institutional responses to hazards and disaster events before, during, and after they occurred. These contributors provided data, references, and perspectives that assisted the committee in understanding the scope of the very broad issue of disaster resilience and the impact of decisions and actions that can increase or degrade the resilience of communities facing a variety of hazards and disasters. These individuals were very frank and open in providing important information to the committee without which it would have been impossible to develop this report. These individuals gave the committee distinct insights about what is happening at the local, state, and regional levels in terms of increasing disaster resilience.

We gratefully acknowledge these individuals and organizations and note that their thorough and helpful responses are brought forward throughout the report. The study’s sponsors, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Community and Regional Resilience Institute were particularly supportive and patient as the committee worked through this very challenging problem.

In addition, the committee would like to thank the following individuals who contributed to the study in different and meaningful ways:

In connection with the committee’s Gulf Coast meeting, we thank Charles Allen III, Knox Andress, Justin Augustine, John Barry, Steven Bingler, Tap Bui, Garcia Bodley, Paul Byers, Commissioner Mike Chaney, Craig Colten, Maria Elisa Mandarim de Lacerda, Joseph Donchess, Mayor Garcia and Fire Chief Smith of Waveland, Mississippi, Greg Grillo, Kimberley Hoppe, Bill Howell, Natalie Jayroe, Pam Jenkins, Bob Klemme, Mary Claire Landry, Shirley Laska, Doug Meffert, Stephen Murphy, Earthea Nance, Eric Nelson, Tracy Nelson, May Nguyen, Allison Plyer, Julie Rochman, Ommeed Sathe, Ronald Schumann III, Tracie Sempier, Bill Stallworth, Marcia St. Martin,

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
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Jonathan Thompson, and Frank Wise; community members of Village de L’Est and the owner of the café in which we held our discussion in East New Orleans; the Knight Nonprofit Center including Alice Graham, John Hosey, John Kelly, Rupert Lacy, Tom Lansford, Reilly Morse, Kimberly Nastasi, and Lori West.

In connection with the committee’s meeting in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Iowa, we thank Jerry Anthony, Nancy Beers, Dee Brown, Christine Butterfield, Clark Christensen, Amy Costliow, Luciana Cunha, Lt. General Ron Dardis, Steve Dummeruth, Dave Elgin, Mark English, Kamyar Enshayan, Mitch Finn, Bill Gardam, Greg Graham, Donna Harvey, Benjamin Hoover, Patty Judge, Cindy Kaestner, Witold Krajewski, Carmen Langel, Kevin Leicht, Adam Lindenlaub, Alan Macvey, Liz Mathis, Jeff McClaran, Dave Miller, Tom Moore, Cornelia Mutel, Laura Myers, Doug Neumann, Corinne Peek-Asa, Lisa Pritchard, Marizen Ramirez, John Beldon Scott, Drew Skogman, Kyle Skogman, Megan Snitkey, Kathleen Stewart, Peter Thorne, James Throgmorton, Achilleas Tsakiris, Clint Twedt-Ball, Courtney Twedt-Ball, Terry Vaughan, Chad Ware, Larry Weber, Michael Wichman, Chuck Wieneke, Emily White, Leslie Wright, and Rick Wulfekuhle.

In connection with the committee’s meeting in Irvine, California, we thank Mariana Amatullo, David Eisenman, Baruch Fischhoff, Alan Glennon, Mark Hansen, John Holmes, Lucy Jones, Sarah Karlinsky, Richard Little, Mike Morel, Javier Moreno, Leysia Palen, Chris Poland, Ezra Rapport, Roxanne Silver, Nalini Venkatasubramanian, and Matt Zook.

The helpful assistance we received with regard to planning and executing the field trips for the committee’s regional meetings was also critical. We recognize the contributions from Senator Mary Landrieu who shared her welcoming remarks to open our workshop in the Gulf Coast. We also recognize and thank the city of New Orleans and Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office; the city of Cedar Rapids and Mayor Ron Corbett and City Manager Jeff Pomeranz; Cedar Rapids’ Community Development Department including Christine Butterfield and Adam Lindenlaub; Leslie Wright from the United Way of East Central Iowa; Larry Weber from the University of Iowa; and John Holmes and the Port of Los Angeles. Their excellent cooperation and efforts to provide access to necessary information and localities greatly informed the committee’s work.

At other stages of the study we also received very helpful contributions from Paul Brenner, Ben Billings, Laurie Johnson, Dennis Mileti, and Claire Rubin.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2012. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/13457.
×

comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.

We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Jacobo Bielak, Carnegie Mellon University; Christine Butterfield, City of Cedar Rapids-Iowa; Susan Curry, University of Iowa; Joseph Donovan, Beacon Hill Partners; Christopher Field, Carnegie Institution of Washington; Brian Flynn, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences; Stephen Flynn, Northeastern University; Sandro Galea, Columbia University; Edward George, Massachusetts General Hospital; Jack Harrald, Virginia Polytechnic University; Bryan Koon, Florida Division of Emergency Management; John Krueger, Cherokee Nation Health Service; Burrell Montz, East Carolina University; Christopher Poland, Degenkolb Engineers; Barbara Reynolds, Centers for Disease Control; and Adam Rose, University of Southern California.

Although the reviewers listed above provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Dr. Susan Hanson, Clark University (emeriti), and Dr. Mary Clutter, National Science Foundation (retired). Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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No person or place is immune from disasters or disaster-related losses. Infectious disease outbreaks, acts of terrorism, social unrest, or financial disasters in addition to natural hazards can all lead to large-scale consequences for the nation and its communities. Communities and the nation thus face difficult fiscal, social, cultural, and environmental choices about the best ways to ensure basic security and quality of life against hazards, deliberate attacks, and disasters. Beyond the unquantifiable costs of injury and loss of life from disasters, statistics for 2011 alone indicate economic damages from natural disasters in the United States exceeded $55 billion, with 14 events costing more than a billion dollars in damages each.

One way to reduce the impacts of disasters on the nation and its communities is to invest in enhancing resilience--the ability to prepare and plan for, absorb, recover from and more successfully adapt to adverse events. Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative addresses the broad issue of increasing the nation's resilience to disasters. This book defines "national resilience", describes the state of knowledge about resilience to hazards and disasters, and frames the main issues related to increasing resilience in the United States. It also provide goals, baseline conditions, or performance metrics for national resilience and outlines additional information, data, gaps, and/or obstacles that need to be addressed to increase the nation's resilience to disasters. Additionally, the book's authoring committee makes recommendations about the necessary approaches to elevate national resilience to disasters in the United States.

Enhanced resilience allows better anticipation of disasters and better planning to reduce disaster losses-rather than waiting for an event to occur and paying for it afterward. Disaster Resilience confronts the topic of how to increase the nation's resilience to disasters through a vision of the characteristics of a resilient nation in the year 2030. Increasing disaster resilience is an imperative that requires the collective will of the nation and its communities. Although disasters will continue to occur, actions that move the nation from reactive approaches to disasters to a proactive stance where communities actively engage in enhancing resilience will reduce many of the broad societal and economic burdens that disasters can cause.

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