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Dennis Mileti Obituary

1 February 2021

Dennis Mileti

It is with great sadness that Prof Dennis Mileti, a world-renowned expert on disaster communication, professor emeritus of sociology and former director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado Boulder, died on January 31st, 2021. Dennis succumbed to complications from COVID-19, two days before he was scheduled to get his first vaccine. He was only 75. 
Mileti was leader in the field of hazards and disaster research and gained national prominence with the publication of Disasters by Design, a comprehensive assessment of natural-hazards research that established a framework for sustainable hazard mitigation in the United States. Mileti was also an expert on risk communication and the WRC were delighted that Mileti accepted our invitation to be an affiliate in late 2020 as he had worked extensively on warning systems and their value within disaster risk reduction. In an interview with The Washington Post, Mileti warned of the consequences of fuzzy public warnings, inconsistent messages and outright falsehoods for the COVID-19 pandemic stating: 
“This might be the largest public information mess I’ve ever witnessed,” he said then, adding: “It just breaks my heart. We know how to do emergency planning better than anyone on Earth, and it’s not there.”
It is tragic that Mileti’s extraordinary research and engagement with experts and the public was not implemented as so many lives could have been saved during the pandemic. Putting research into practice remains a key issue within Disaster Risk Reduction and one that the WRC honours with Mileti in mind. 
A full Obituary can be found here.