Societal risks from hazards are continually increasing. Each year, disasters cause thousands of deaths and cost billions of dollars. The United States has endured countless disasters—winter snowstorms in the Midwest and Northeast; severe tornadic weather in Mississippi, Alabama, and Missouri; flash flooding in Nashville; flooding along the Mississippi River; an earthquake on the East Coast, wildfires in Texas, and Hurricane Irene. Fundamental disaster planning is regarded as an interdisciplinary approach to develop strategies and instituting policies concerned with phases of emergency management; as such, its needs are predicated on the identification of hazards and assessment of risks. Even if the probability or intensity of risks to disasters remains fairly constant, population growth, alongside economic and infrastructural development, will inevitably result in a concomitant increase of places prone to such events.
In part one of this two-part podcast, HDIAC analyst Amber Garvey interviews Dr. Tonya Thornton, the Director for Extramural Projects at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. The discussion begins with Dr. Thornton defining terminology used to describe and classify disasters today.