Pool knowledge to stem losses from disasters

Susan L. Cutter, Alik Ismail-Zadeh, Irasema Alcántara-Ayala, Orhan Altan, Daniel N. Baker, Salvano Briceño, Harsh Gupta, Ailsa Holloway, David Johnston, Gordon A. McBean, Yujiro Ogawa, Douglas Paton, Emma Porio, Rainer K. Silbereisen, Kuniyoshi Takeuchi, Giovanni B. Valsecchi, Coleen Vogel, Guoxiong Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


    The number and severity of disasters is increasing (see 'Catastrophic rise'). Annual global economic losses from geophysical, hydro-meteorological and climatological events could almost double from their 2005 levels by 2030 to exceed US$300 billion if the past decade's trend continues. The figures may worsen as climate change, globalization, technological change, urbanization and political and economic instability put more people and assets at risk.
    Improved disaster-risk management and resilience is essential for sustainable societies1. But the science of natural hazards is too fragmented to influence policy effectively. Seismologists, for example, had long warned in specialist journals that Nepal's Kathmandu region was due a large earthquake. Local politicians did not strengthen construction codes, reinforce old buildings or inform the population about potential risks. Had such measures been implemented — as they have in Japan, California and Chile — the death toll would have been lower (see ‘Three lessons yet to be learned’). Similarly, structures in flood-prone areas can be elevated; those in cyclone zones wind-proofed; and the public educated about such possibilities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)277-279
    Number of pages3
    Issue number7556
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2015


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