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ECU opens natural disaster migration center

GREENVILLE, NC   (Oct. 1, 2004)   —   East Carolina University's new Center for Natural Hazards Mitigation Research will bring to campus the study of natural disaster and its management this fall.

Jamie Kruse, professor of economics in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, will serve as the center's director. She is the former director of Wind Damage Economics Research of Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University. Kruse said she looks forward to collaborating with researchers and communities across the state to provide the best possible response to hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and other hazardous weather conditions.

"With the talent and interest of the ECU faculty, we have a tremendous opportunity to contribute to saving lives and property while preserving the natural beauty that makes North Carolina so special," Kruse said.

In response to the widespread devastation suffered in the wake of hurricanes Dennis and Floyd, ECU's College of Arts and Sciences began the groundwork for the center in 2001. It is part of the North Carolina Institute of Disaster Studies at the University of North Carolina.

In addition to providing support and coordination for research and outreach on natural hazard risks, the center will help to determine methods to reduce potential losses of life, property and infrastructure during weather emergencies. Protecting and preserving the natural environment from storm losses caused by human interaction is also an area of focus, Kruse said.

"Projects may include engineering approaches to protection of property and infrastructure, research into community protection projects and insurance programs, the effectiveness of flood and hurricane warning systems, and how policy-makers should handle evacuations," she said. "The ultimate goal of these activities is to provide for safe and secure communities in our region."

The center is in the process of identifying research projects that could serve the needs of the region. The center will also conduct a publicity and fund-raising campaign, and a door-to-door canvassing effort in Greenville.

The center's web address is: http://www.ecu.edu/artsci/cas/auxiliary/hazardcenter/.

 


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