For 30 years, the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado (U.S.) has served as a national and international clearinghouse of knowledge concerning the social science and policy aspects of disasters. The Center’s popular publication, the Natural Hazards Observer, has a long history of publishing excellent articles of interest to the international disaster community.

Beginning with the current issue, the Observer revisits a time-tested topic: the myths surrounding natural disasters. To foster awareness, discussion and action on the issue of disaster myths, the next six issues of the Observer will each feature an article related to disaster mythology. The first in the series introduces the topic and the implications of accepting these myths as truth. Future articles will address: panic, dead bodies, disease, and looting. A concluding article will focus on how disaster myths are created and what can be done to dispel them or avoid perpetuation altogether. Read the introductory article on line at, click on “Publications” and follow the links.