Responding to catastrophes: U.S. innovation in a vulnerable world

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Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mar 24, 2008 - Business & Economics - 69 pages
The incidence and severity of catastrophes around the world are growing. This study argues that the United States needs to prioritize and focus its efforts and take a more robust role in responding to catastrophes to safeguard U.S. interests and promote global stability. Humanitarian management of disasters should be recognized as an issue that speaks to core interests and values of the United States. The abilityand, increasingly, the propensityof natural disasters to cascade into complex emergencies underlines why it is inappropriate to separate natural from man-made disasters in discussions of global crises.Human decisions frequently exacerbate the effects of disaster agents, as, for example, when earthquakes tear through areas that either should not have been populated in the first place or should have been retrofitted once the areas vulnerability became clear. In this sense, all disasters are man-made, and the dichotomy between acts of war and acts of God is largely false. Unfortunately, catastrophe response organizationsboth within the United States and abroadmostly have not incorporated this thinking into their practices. Responding to Catastrophes seeks to integrate thinking about the nature ofand response tofuture catastrophes into the policymakers decisionmaking process.

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