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Public Policy

It may seem trivial or tautological to point out that disaster-related public policy in the United States is shaped by the nation's vast size, but this is an important contrast with geographically smaller or more heterogeneous countries, where natural disaster vulnerability is evenly distributed and commonly shared. In the United States, the southeast and occasionally the coastal northeast are vulnerable to hurricanes; the north to blizzards and ice storms; the Midwest to tornadoes; and various other regions have special vulnerability to drought, flooding, or wildfires. It is perhaps for this reason that public policy in the United States has been primarily crafted around potential human-made disasters: nuclear war, foreign invasion, terrorism, and epidemics. Originally, such policies were grouped under the heading of civil defense. Since ...

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