Worldwide losses from natural disasters are increasing rapidly due to population growth, urban sprawl, and increasing concentration of new construction in high-risk areas. to deal with these problems, the United Nations has designated the 1990's as the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR). The United States and more than 150 other nations signed the IDNDR resolution at the 44th General Assembly of the United Nations. The resolution calls on all nations to develop programs to reduce loss of life, economic impact, and human suffering caused by natural disasters.
IDNDR offers an unprecedented opportunity to apply new knowledge and technology to minimize losses in regions at high risks. The program is very challenging because full implementation requires a multidisciplinary effort on a global scale, an undertaking never before attempted. In concert with the other signatory nations, the Untied States is carrying out a balanced and comprehensive program of research and applications as a contribution to the IDNDR. The U.S program is designed to reduce both loss of life and property damage from natural disasters.