Preparing for disasters in 2019: How can risks be mitigated?

The year 2018 was marked by extraordinary natural disasters in the United States and around the world. California bore witness to devastating mudslides in Montecito and massive wildfires across the state, including the deadly Camp Fire in Northern California that scorched more than 150,000 acres. In the South, Hurricane Florence deluged the Carolinas while Hurricane Michael landed in the Florida Panhandle as the third-strongest storm ever to come ashore in the U.S.

remains of a neighborhood after a wildfire

While the loss of life from natural disasters is immeasurable, the destruction of property and infrastructure can cost hundreds of billions of dollars. Scientists believe the damage will only get worse as climate change creates more frequent and intense weather events. This raises the question concerning how communities and individuals can prepare in the new year.

As part of the “2019: A Look Ahead” series, Howard Kunreuther, professor of operations, information, and decisions and co-director of the Risk Management and Decision Processes Center at Wharton, discussed disaster preparation with a professor of natural resource management and a professor of finance and risk management.

Read more at Knowledge@Wharton.