Canadian Underwriter

ICLR study casts light on government role in disaster mitigation

February 19, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter

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A new study released by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) encourages government to put resources towards disaster mitigation and gives specific direction on what form government action should take on this issue.
In “The Role of Government In Services for Disaster Mitigation”, Dr. Gordon McBean, policy chair of the ICLR, and Dan Henstra note that despite an increase in the losses stemming from natural disasters in recent years, mitigation efforts remain a low priority item on the government agenda.
The study finds economic, legal and moral imperatives to compel the government to invest in disaster mitigation. It offers means by which the government can work towards hazard assessment and monitoring, disaster planning, prediction and warning systems and public education and research on disaster mitigation.
Among the steps to be taken are the use of building code standards and enforcement, specifically at the municipal level. Also, investment in the leading edge technology such as modeling – for disaster prediction is advocated. And, the study notes, a clear decision on who has the authority to issue weather warnings is needed.
“In Canada, existing structures offer a foundation on which a well-coordinated national program of disaster mitigation could be built but greater investment and sustained commitment from governments at all levels is necessary to make this idea a reality,” the study concludes.

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