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Environment Magazine September/October 2008


March-April 2011

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Commentary: Forensic Disaster Investigations

The informative and thought-provoking article “Forensic Disaster Investigations in Depth: A New Case Study Model” (September/October 2010 issue) makes a strong case for the need to engage in long-term interdisciplinary research to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards.

The article does a commendable job of laying out the theoretical context for the forensic disaster investigations. But some issues need more thought. How will the case studies ultimately be chosen? Immediate (e.g., earthquakes and floods) and slow-onset (e.g., droughts) disaster events both need to be considered and give rise to different sets of institutional and socioeconomic considerations. Presumably the Working Group may include non-academic practitioners who may lend insights from on-the-ground experience, but how will capacity-enhancing actions be built into this process?

Hassan Virji is executive director of the International START Secretariat

Fareeha Y. Iqbal is a program associate of the International START Secretariat

Jon Padgham is a program director for the International START Secretariat (Washington, DC)

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