Mitigation of Natural and Anthropogenic Hazards

Hazards are the sources of danger for humans and other life forms and to the surrounding environments where they are located. For some hazard events (droughts, meteorites) there is no control where they will strike, how often they will occur, or for how long they will last, whereas for others we know where the danger lies (geologic fault zones, volcanoes) but don’t know their precise frequency of occurrence and duration. On the other hand, floods and tornado hazards and those produced by humans (pollution from industrial facilities, radiation from nuclear reactors) can be predicted when, where, and with what intensities they can occur, if certain parameters are monitored. The consequences of some hazards can be even more dangerous (landslides, tsunamis, collapses of human built structures, health problems) and their long-term persistence (climate change, radioactive emissions) can become large burdens for future generations. Mitigation of the impacts of these hazards deals with preparedness, recovery response, rehabilitation, and reconstruction, with each sequence requiring the minimization of injuries and loss of life, stabilization of the affected societies, and protection of the built environment and maintenance of the necessary infrastructure and services. Building structures according to proper codes to dampen the hazards and enforcing these codes, maintaining a sustainable educational program, and monitoring the hazard sources are essential for reducing the impacts from hazards. This session calls for presentations dealing with one or more of these issues.