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Disaster planning: It’s good to talk

A new dialogue is needed between policymakers and scientists to tackle natural crises

By Randolph Kent   October 2010

Troubled waters: the Zipingpu dam in China, built over a geological faultline, may have contributed to the earthquake which killed 80,000 people in Sichuan province in 2008

A series of major disasters—from this summer’s floods in Pakistan and the brushfires in Russia, to recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, Hurricane Katrina and the 2005 tsunami—have left many people asking if the intensity and frequency of such events are increasing. The World Health Organisation’s emergency events database suggests that they are; moreover, the havoc ostensibly wreaked by nature is often a reflection of the ways that humankind makes itself vulnerable to…

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