8 June 2005
In the wake of December 2004's Asian tsunami disaster, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, established a Natural Hazard Working Group.
The 15-strong team, which was asked to examine the worth and feasibility of establishing an international panel to assess future threats of this type, recommended that an International Science Panel for Natural Hazard Assessment should be established.
Professor McGuire said: "More than anything else, the Asian tsunami catastrophe has provided us with a glimpse of the scale and extent of future natural hazards that will, in time, impinge upon our planet and our society. By focusing attention on extreme natural hazards capable of affecting our entire world, or a substantial portion thereof, it has also opened a window of opportunity within which we have a chance to plan for avoiding, mitigating or managing such events. Tackling the greatest natural threats, which are capable of affecting many nations simultaneously, requires a global approach that can only be provided through establishment of a dedicated international panel that is designed to bring science to bear on identifying, assessing and highlighting future threats.
"We are faced with a stark choice when it comes to dealing with
future extreme natural hazards. Either do nothing and accept the
consequences - potentially trillions of Euros of economic losses and
millions of lives - without complaint, or make a decision now to
recognize such events as elements within a broad global threat portfolio
that includes climate change and terrorism, and fund and resource an
international action plan accordingly."
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