Natural Hazards

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 459–467 | Cite as

Preventive disaster management of extreme natural events

  • Alik Ismail-ZadehEmail author
  • Kuniyoshi Takeuchi
Original Paper


Several recent extreme natural events resulted in great humanitarian tragedies because of weak preventive disaster management. Here we analyze several factors (natural, economical, political, awareness, and preparedness) that brought about the humanitarian tragedies of the early 21st century. We discuss then the role of science in the preventive disaster management of extreme natural events.


Extreme event Geohazard Risk Society Disaster management Preparedness 



We are grateful to the IUGG GeoRisk Commissioners for intensive discussion on the topic of the paper. Special thanks go to T. Beer, K. Fuchs, V. Keilis-Borok, V. Kossobokov, B. Mueller, U. Shamir, and F. Wenzel. The paper is written during one of the authors’ (AI-Z) stay at the Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo.


  1. Associated Press (2005) Katrina may cost as much as four years of war. Sept 10, 2005.
  2. Burdick E (1964) The 480, McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. Berz G (2004) Natural disasters and climate change: concerns and possible counter-measures from the viewpoint of an international reinsurer, Report, Munich Reinsurance Co., Munich, 15 ppGoogle Scholar
  4. Cummings RG et al (eds) (1986) Valuing environmental goods: an assessment of the contingent valuation method, Rowman & Allanheld, Totowa, NJGoogle Scholar
  5. Cutter S, Emrich C (2005) Are natural hazards and disaster losses in the U.S. increasing? EOS/Transactions of the Amer Geophys Un 86(41):381–396Google Scholar
  6. Fischetti M (2001) Drowning New Orleans, Scientific American 10:78–83Google Scholar
  7. Fischetti M (2005) They saw it coming. The New York Times, September 2Google Scholar
  8. Fuchs K (2005) The great earthquakes of Lisbon 1755 and Aceh 2004 shook the world—seismologists’ societal responsibility. In: Proc. 250th Anniversary of the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake International Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, 1–4 NovemberGoogle Scholar
  9. Hsu SS (2006) Katrina Report Spreads Blame, Washington Post, February 12, p A01Google Scholar
  10. IUGG GeoRisk Commission (2005) Statement on the Greatest Earthquake and Tsunami of the Early XXI Century and the Need for Urgent Action to Reduce Natural Disasters in the Indian Ocean Region and Elsewhere. Boulder, Colorado: International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics. (
  11. Keilis-Borok VI (2003) Basic science for prediction and reduction of geological disasters. In: Beer T, Ismail-Zadeh A (eds) Risk, science and sustainability. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, pp 29–38Google Scholar
  12. Kundzewicz ZW, Takeuchi K (1999) Flood protection and management: quo vadimus? Hydrol Sci J 44(3):417–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Munich Re (2004) Megacities––Megarisks: trends and challenges for insurance and risk management, Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft, Munich, 79 ppGoogle Scholar
  14. Munich Re: (2005) Annual Review of Natural Catastrophes, Topics Geo, Münchener Rückversicherungs-Gesellschaft, Munich, 56 ppGoogle Scholar
  15. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (2006) NOAA reviews recond––setting 2005 Atlantic hurricane season,
  16. Tannehill R (1947) Drought: its causes and effects, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  17. Trenberth KE (2005) Uncertainty in hurricanes and global warning. Science 308:1753–1754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. UNU (United Nations University) (2004) News Release, 13 JuneGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geophysical InstituteKarlsruhe UniversityKarlsruheGermany
  2. 2.International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical GeophysicsRussian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia
  3. 3.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringUniversity of YamanashiKofuJapan
  4. 4.International Centre for Water Hazard and Risk ManagementTsukuba, IbarakiJapan

Personalised recommendations