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Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention

Multiple hazards, clustering in different ways Each hazard afflicts countries differently, but many countries are subject to multiple hazards, though the importance of each differs. Earthquakes and volcanoes (geophysical hazards) tend to cluster along fault boundaries characterized by mountainous terrain. Floods, cyclones, and landslides (hydrometeorological hazards) affect the eastern coastal regions of the major continents as well as some interior regions of North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Drought is more widely dispersed across the semiarid tropics. Areas subject to hazards fall primarily in East and South Asia and in Central America and western South America (map 1.3). Many of them are also more densely populated and developed than average, leading to high potential for casualties and damage. But geography is not destiny. Many countries in harm’s way have managed to protect their population over time, and this report examines how this has happened. And for countries that have not dealt with disasters effectively, this report asks why and explores ways for doing so. Rich and poor countries are subject to hazards, but most of the 3.3 million deaths over the last 40 years were in poor countries. Damage, however, may be rising in absolute terms, with earthquakes and storms causing the most damage. And middle-income countries are particularly vulnerable. Rising absolute damage is plausible, considering the increased exposure from urbanization (examined in chapter 6).

Profile for World Bank Group Publications

Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention  

Earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but unnatural disasters are the deaths and damages that result from human act...

Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention  

Earthquakes, droughts, floods, and storms are natural hazards, but unnatural disasters are the deaths and damages that result from human act...

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