"The legal system ostensibly plays a central role in disaster prevention, response, and management. Attorneys, members of the judiciary, and decision-makers at every level of government must anticipate and respond to disasters in a coordinated manner. It is increasingly clear, however, that the law is woefully unprepared to handle disasters. A growing community of academics recognizes this problem, and is formulating solutions under the rubric of disaster law. This emerging legal academic field encompasses a wide-ranging, intra- and inter-disciplinary body of thought, research and dialogue which seeks to inform and improve disaster-related decision-making.
"On June 25th, 2007, eighteen law professors and legal practitioners who count disasters among their primary research interests, gathered at U.C. Berkeley Law School to chart disaster law's course for the immediate and long-term future. Appendix A, Workshop Participants and Agenda. Over the course of the day, participants highlighted a wide variety of important intellectual concerns and potential problem-solving strategies regarding disaster management.
"In a series of productive discussions, participants first addressed central normative issues of disaster law, including terminology and the role of the legal academy. The group then addressed four sub-areas of disaster law: international collaboration, social justice, compensation and insurance, and prevention and response. Participants' recommendations for action included the creation of an annual disaster law conference, the integration of disaster law into law teaching, and an increased internet presence.
"This white paper, a record of the milestone June 25th workshop, is intended as a
tool for use by disaster law practitioners and academics in mapping the direction and
future of the field."—Executive Summary.
"This symposium provides a forum for scholars to begin conceptualizing a new field of legal scholarship devoted to catastrophic risks. It is hard to think of anything equally important that has received so little sustained attention from lawyers and law professors. Hurricane Katrina involved over a thousand deaths and $100 billion in losses. There is no reason to consider Katrina the 'worst case scenario.' Yet, scholars have not yet systematically addressed the legal and policy issues posed by major disasters. Ultimately, the goal should be assembling the best portfolio of social policies, institutions, and legal rules to deal with catastrophic risks—a portfolio that includes prevention measures, mitigation incentives, emergency response strategies, liability rules, insurance, and reconstruction planning. In this symposium, papers by legal scholars and policy analysts will address these as well as other issues relating to this critically important subject."—Dan Farber, Editor, Introduction. Access to this bepress journal requires a subscription.
"The Natural Hazards Review stands on the realization that natural disaster losses result from interactions between the physical world, the constructed environment, and the character of the societies and people who occupy them. The journal is dedicated to bringing together the physical, social, and behavioral sciences; engineering; and the regulatory and policy environments to provide a forum for cutting edge, holistic, and cross-disciplinary approaches to natural hazards loss and cost reduction.... Social and behavioral sciences topics addressed include a range of issues related to hazard mitigation and human response as well as significant issues related to the built environment such as land use, building standards, and the role of financial markets and insurance."—Aim and Scope.
"This Flood Management White Paper presents an overview of the current condition of flood management in the Central Valley and outlines a plan to reduce flood risks through an integrated approach for better planning, new investments, improved management of our infrastructure and closer collaboration between water agencies and users."—Executive Summary.