emergency responders and the participation of more than 5.5 million citizens, indicated that the magnitude-7.8 scenario earthquake would have resulted in an estimated 1,800 fatalities, $113 billion in damages to buildings and lifelines, and nearly $70 billion in business interruption. Such an earthquake would clearly have a major effect on the nation as a whole, emphasizing the need to develop the capacity to reduce such effects—to increase our national earthquake resilience.

The National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) is the multi-agency program mandated by Congress to undertake activities to reduce the effects of future earthquakes in the United States. NEHRP was initially authorized by Congress in 1977 and subsequently reauthorized on 2- to 5-year intervals. The four federal agencies with funding authorizations and legislatively mandated responsibilities for NEHRP activities are the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). In 2009, NEHRP funding was $129.7 million, allocated to the USGS ($61.2 million), NSF ($55.3 million), FEMA ($9.1 million), and NIST ($4.1 million) (NIST, 2008). In 2008, the NEHRP agencies developed a Strategic Plan with the aim of providing a sound basis for future activities. The plan is focused on 14 objectives that are grouped into three major goals: to improve understanding of earthquake processes and impacts; to develop cost-effective measures to reduce earthquake impacts on individuals, the built environment, and society-at-large; and to improve the earthquake resilience of communities nationwide.

NIST—the lead NEHRP agency—commissioned the National Research Council (NRC) to develop a roadmap for earthquake hazard and risk reduction in the United States that would be based on the goals and objectives for achieving national earthquake resilience described in the 2008 NEHRP Strategic Plan. The NRC committee was directed to assess the activities, and their costs, that would be required for the nation to achieve earthquake resilience in 20 years. The charge to the committee recognized that there would be a requirement for some sustained activities under the NEHRP program after this 20-year period (see full statement of task in Chapter 1, Box 1.2).


A critical requirement for achieving national earthquake resilience is, of course, an understanding of what constitutes earthquake resilience. In this report, we have interpreted resilience broadly so that it incorporates engineering/science (physical), social/economic (behavioral), and institutional (governing) dimensions. Resilience is also interpreted to encompass both pre- and post-disaster actions that, in combination, will enhance the

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement