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White Paper on the SDR Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction

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by the MCEER Executive Committee:
Michel Bruneau, Andre Filiatrault, George Lee, Thomas O’Rourke, Andrei Reinhorn, Masanobu Shinozuka and Kathleen Tierney

This White Paper volunteers the perspectives of MCEER’s Executive Committee on factors to consider in the formulation of a national research strategy for disaster loss reduction. It is a commentary on the Grand Challenges for Disaster Reduction report, published by the Subcommittee on Disaster Reduction (SDR) of the National Science and Technology Council Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.

In the paper, MCEER advocates that a critical part of this research effort should focus on the mitigation of, and response to, the impact of extreme events on critical facilities and lifelines. The failure of these key infrastructure systems is the cause of most of the disruption during and following disasters.

In this context, national needs require that solutions be integrated across various hazards. However, the objective to achieve a synergy of solutions across the continuum of hazards is something that has just barely begun to be exploited or even investigated.

The White Paper develops a series of recommended research initiatives that should be undertaken in a multi-hazard perspective. These initiatives are illustrated by selected MCEER accomplishments relevant to the research requirements outlined in the SDR Grand Challenges report. They are: