Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Foreseeability of Disaster and Disaster Preparedness

Often, our response to a disaster is "how could this happen?"  and yet many of our disasters are predictable.  We may not know when and where the disasters will occur, but we do know they will occur, because the conditions precedent are obviously in existence.  Consider two new books addressing the impact of killing drought in the west, reviewed in the New York Times today. “A Great Aridness,” by William deBuys, a conservationist based in New Mexico, and “Bird on Fire,” by Andrew Ross, a social scientist at New York University,  discuss the impact of weather changes on the "New West."  The development and population here in the New West took off during a period in the 20th century when the region enjoyed perhaps its wettest weather in hundreds of years. The killing droughts that have lately gripped the region are, in fact, the result of more typical weather patterns.  This will mean the occurence of more events that we classify as typical disasters like forest fires and flash floods, and also more slow motion disasters:  pestilence, die-offs of native grasses, depletion of watersheds and increasing competition for scarce water. The American Bar Association's Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section's Disaster Initiative will present programs on  May 17, 2012 at the TIPS Spring Meeting in Charlotte, NC focusing on disasters caused by acts of nature, and a full CLE track on disaster preparedness).  For more information about TIPS' Disaster Initative click here

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