Natural Hazards

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Losses resulting from natural hazards—including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and wildfires—cost billions of dollars each year. RAND research has shown how long-term loss-reduction strategies and disaster preparedness could improve the resilience of communities and infrastructure in the face of natural disasters, resulting in less property damage and reduced rebuilding costs.

Explore Natural Hazards

  • Report

    Characterizing National Exposures to Infrastructure from Natural Disasters: Data and Methods Documentation

    This report serves as the technical documentation and reference document for the data, methods, and analytic approach used in the analysis of national exposures to infrastructure from natural disasters.

    Jul 12, 2016

  • A house damaged by a tornado

    Report

    Designing Compensation Funds After Disasters

    Man-made and natural disasters in the U.S. cause personal injury and property damage to dozens, even thousands, of people, and sometimes victim compensation programs are created afterwards. Program designers must consider fairness to victims, timely compensation, and low transaction costs.

    Jul 6, 2016

  • Brazilian Army soldiers take part in a simulation of decontamination of multiple victims during a training against chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, March 11, 2016

    Commentary

    ISIS and Dirty Bombs

    There has been growing concern that terrorists might use radiological sources to create a Radiological Dispersal Device (RDD). Calculations have shown that an attack would be unlikely to produce radioactive contamination sufficient to kill or even injure anyone, but there would be psychological and economic effects.

    Jun 3, 2016

  • Report

    Collaborative Disaster Preparedness: Vietnam, the United States, and Regional Experiences (Proceedings from Da Nang, Vietnam, August 18–20, 2015)

    This report summarizes the workshop on Collaborative Disaster Preparedness that was conducted in August 2015 in Da Nang, Vietnam, and hosted by the Collaborative & Adaptive Security Initiative.

    May 19, 2016

  • Flood gates open on the Morganza Floodway, Louisiana

    Content

    Fischbach Discusses Current and Future Coastal Flood Risk in New Orleans and South Louisiana

    RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center co-director Jordan Fischbach led a seminar for the Sustainable Climate Risk Management network on current and future flood risk in New Orleans and South Louisiana.

    Apr 7, 2016

  • Tool

    The Displaced New Orleans Residents Survey: Overview, User's Guide, and Codebook

    Documentation for the 2009-2010 Displaced New Orleans Residents Survey (DNORS), a study of individuals and families who resided in New Orleans, Louisiana, prior to Hurricane Katrina. DNORS assessed medium-term outcomes five years after the hurricane.

    Mar 14, 2016

  • The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway West Closure Complex in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, August 25, 2015

    Report

    Exploring Funding Allocations to Best Support Louisiana's Flood Risk and Resilience

    States that have recently experienced a presidentially declared major disaster can apply for funds through the Natural Disaster Resilience Competition. For Louisiana's application, RAND provided a quantitative analysis of baseline flood risks under different amounts of investment in three parishes.

    Mar 1, 2016

  • Journal Article

    Bias and Efficiency Tradeoffs in the Selection of Storm Suites Used to Estimate Flood Risk

    This study examines methods for estimating storm surges and flood statistics.

    Feb 26, 2016

  • Cars stranded in flood waters from Hurricane Irene in lower Manhattan, August 28, 2011

    Commentary

    Why Engineers Need to Be Thinking About Climate Change

    As sea levels rise and extreme weather events become more common, evacuation routes in coastal areas will become more important. Transportation engineers need to be more proactive as they try to anticipate damage to pavement, bridges, and culverts.

    Feb 22, 2016

  • A Super Scooper aircraft battles a 40-acre fire east of the Sepulveda Pass in Los Angeles

    Commentary

    Wildfires Getting More Destructive

    The potential for smoke to harm air quality and cause health problems was especially acute in 2015 because a record number of wildfires broke out in the United States. Pre-wildfire season preparedness could go a long way toward protecting public health.

    Dec 28, 2015

  • New Orleans, Louisiana, photo by Pattie Steib/Fotolia

    Content

    Findings Shared from Study on Economic Impact of Louisiana Land Loss

    RAND researcher Craig Bond presented a report on the economic impact of land loss in Louisiana to a Governor's Advisory Commission.

    Dec 16, 2015

  • Global climate change visualization

    Commentary

    Adapting to a Hotter World

    Because climate change is largely irreversible, mitigation alone won't solve the problem. While mitigation will prevent even greater, future climatic changes, adaptation — efforts to adjust to climate change's effects — will prepare the world for a new set of living conditions, whatever they may be.

    Oct 2, 2015

  • map of united states

    Brochure

    Examining the Impact of the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute

    Established in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute tackles tough questions in the topic areas relevant to the region's long-term economic development and the well-being of its residents. This overview highlights research projects related to coastal protection and restoration, community resilience, housing, health and mental health, education, and public safety.

    Sep 21, 2015

  • New York, NY, USA - October 31, 2012: NYPD police emergency response vehicle parked in the streets of Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, NY, USA, on October 31, 2012.

    Tool

    Partnerships for Recovery Across The Sectors (PRACTIS) Toolkit

    The Partnerships for Recovery Across The Sectors (PRACTIS) toolkit employs a survey, a quality improvement guide, and a recovery exercise to strengthen disaster recovery partnerships between local health departments and community-based organizations.

    Sep 15, 2015

  • Tourists walk past the entrance to the Hurricane Katrina Memorial, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 23, 2015

    Blog

    Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years After the Storm

    This weekend marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. As the region struggled to cope and rebuild after the storm, RAND experts worked on solutions to the region's long-term challenges.

    Aug 27, 2015

  • Nepalese military personnel and international rescue crews check on a collapsed building after the earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal, May 12, 2015

    Commentary

    Another Nepal Earthquake Makes Disaster Relief Planning Even More Important

    Leadership, coordination, communication, and involvement of local stakeholders are critical to an informed response to natural disasters. Improved disaster management in Nepal could help limit the suffering of impacted communities and help secure a more successful recovery in the long run.

    May 13, 2015

  • Nepal military personnel sits next to relief supplies at Gorkha district office following Saturday's earthquake in Gorkha, Nepal April 30, 2015

    Commentary

    Nepal Earthquake Response Shows Need for Better International Planning

    The U.S. provided supplies after the earthquake in Nepal, but they piled up at points of delivery because Nepalese customs authorities insisted that standard inspections be followed, even in an emergency situation. These kinds of bureaucratic challenges can be more easily overcome if they are identified and addressed before crises arise.

    May 7, 2015

  • Residents clear debris as they look for their belongings from collapsed houses following Saturday's earthquake in Bhaktapur, Nepal, May 1, 2015

    Multimedia

    RAND Experts Discuss Nepal and Preparing for Natural Disasters

    RAND researchers Jonah Blank and Anita Chandra, as well as Margaret Traub, head of Global Initiatives, International Medical Corps, participated in a media conference call on Tuesday, May 5th, to discuss the recent earthquake in Nepal and the many facets of preparing for natural disasters and dealing with the outcome.

    May 5, 2015