March 9, 2011 · by Barb Murphy
Recent experiences with natural and human-caused disasters here and elsewhere in the world remind us that extreme weather events and disasters can exceed our control and the affected communities’ ability to recover on their own.
Some of these devastating effects on communities are the result of human decisions—for instance, land use and building codes,of critical infrastructure, and many other social decisions and actions. Resilience to disasters is built at the community level. No community is immune to disasters, and no community is an island unto itself. The emerging role of critical infrastructure, just-in-time manufacturing, and the globalization of the economy means that all individuals and communities are interdependent. In the United States, the public sector represents just ten percent of the workforce. The other ninety percent resides in the private sector—ranging from small, individually owned businesses to national and global enterprises—and in a range of nongovernmental bodies and faith-based organizations. Building Community Disaster Resilience through Private-Public Collaboration develops a conceptual model for private–public collaboration and presents a series of guidelines intended for those who wish to create an environment supportive of community-level disaster resilience.
Predicting these catastrophes better is another way to mitigate the overwhelming devastation to communities. Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences looks at ways that the geographical sciences can best contribute to science and society in the next decade through research initiatives aimed at advancing understanding of major issues facing Earth in the early 21st century. Research on shifts in climate, soil erosion, habitat loss, and water degradation and understanding the human role in these changes is vital to foreseeing the magnitude and timing of future disaster events.
These books and others on the subject of disaster preparation and response, scientific research, and application of technologies can guide policy makers and inform the public.
|Building Community Disaster Resilience through Private-Public Collaboration
Natural disasters–including hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and floods–caused over 220,000 deaths worldwide in the first half of 2010 and wreaked havoc on homes, buildings, and the environment. To withstand and recover from natural and…
|Understanding the Changing Planet: Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences
From the oceans to continental heartlands, human activities have altered the physical characteristics of Earth’s surface. With Earth’s population projected to peak at 8 to 12 billion people by 2050 and the additional stress of
|Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change
Across the United States, impacts of climate change are already evident. Heat waves have become more frequent and intense, cold extremes have become less frequent, and patterns of rainfall are likely changing. The proportion of precipitation that falls as…
|Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Summary of a Workshop on Current Knowledge and Research Gaps
This book presents a summary of the Workshop on Public Response to Alerts and Warnings on Mobile Devices: Current Knowledge and Research Gaps, held April 13 and 14, 2010, in Washington, D.C., under the auspices of the
|Private-Public Sector Collaboration to Enhance Community Disaster Resilience: A Workshop Report
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11) on the United States prompted a rethinking of how the United States prepares for disasters. Federal policy documents written since 9/11 have stressed that the private and public sectors share equal…
|Applications of Social Network Analysis for Building Community Disaster Resilience: Workshop Summary
Social Network Analysis (SNA) is the identification of the relationships and attributes of members, key actors, and groups that social networks comprise. The National Research Council, at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, held a two-day…
|Disaster Risk Management in an Age of Climate Change: A Summary of the April 3, 2008 Workshop of the Disasters Roundtable|
|Recovering From Disaster: A Summary of the October 17, 2007 Workshop of the Disasters Roundtable
Disaster recovery is a complex and challenging process that involves all sectors of a community as well as outside interests. In many cases, it is not even clear if and when recovery has been achieved because of varying stakeholder goals for the community, for…
|Tools and Methods for Estimating Populations at Risk from Natural Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Crises
Worldwide, millions of people are displaced annually because of natural or industrial disasters or social upheaval. Reliable data on the numbers, characteristics, and locations of these populations can bolster humanitarian relief efforts and recovery programs. …
|Improving Disaster Management: The Role of IT in Mitigation, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery
Information technology (IT) has the potential to play a critical role in managing natural and human made disasters. Damage to communications infrastructure, along with other communications problems exacerbated the difficulties in carrying out response and…
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