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National Science Foundation

A Special Report


Understanding Disasters

Understanding Disasters

When we learn about dangers, we find ways to counter them

Without a comprehensive understanding of disasters, it is impossible to prepare for them. Knowledge is critical, whether for determining how weather systems develop, estimating the path of volcanic debris, recognizing triggers before a ground-shaking seismic event, or even gauging how an individual’s decisions—from a utility employee to a public official—can put entire communities at risk.

With the right information, researchers, communities and planners can work together to craft an effective response for almost any conceivable crisis and learn how to confront them more effectively in the future.

Next: Understanding Disasters >> Observing

A Special Report Disasters