La tendance au sous-investissement dans la fiabilité des infrastructures

NEW YORK – L’ouragan survenu la semaine dernière sur la côte Est des États-Unis (et dont j’ai fait l’expérience dans le sud de Manhattan) s’ajoute à une série croissante d’événements météorologiques extrêmes dont il convient de tirer des leçons. Les experts climatologues soulignent depuis un certain temps l’augmentation de la fréquence et de la puissance de ces événements ; et les preuves à l’appui devraient encourager un certain nombre de mesures de précaution – et nous inciter à réexaminer ces mesures régulièrement.

Il existe deux composantes distinctes et cruciales dans la préparation aux catastrophes. Celle qui retient naturellement le plus notre attention n’est autre que la capacité à y apporter une réponse rapide et efficace. Cette capacité à réagir sera toujours nécessaire, et peu d’observateurs remettent en question son importance. Lorsqu’elle fait défaut ou est inefficace, les pertes en vies humaines et en moyens de subsistance peuvent être terribles. En témoigne l’ouragan Katrina, cause des ravages en Haïti et à la Nouvelle-Orléans en 2005.

La seconde composante réside dans les investissements permettant de minimiser les dommages prévus pour l’économie. Cet aspect de la préparation aux catastrophes suscite généralement beaucoup moins de considération.

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