Natural disasters shape lives and economies through loss and devastation. In 2008, natural disasters killed more than 220,000 people worldwide and caused $200 billion in damages. This was the third most expensive year on record for natural disasters, and experts predict that climate changes will increase the number of weather disasters. Additionally, the number of fatalities from these catastrophes is expected to rise as the population grows and more people inhabit coastal areas. It is therefore vital for human survival that society gain an understanding of these inevitable natural events and effectively manage the associated risks.
Natural Disasters examines the types of natural hazards, their costs in human lives and economic impact, and national and international responses to them. Detailed case studies examine disasters in the United States, the Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami of 2004-2005, water resource management in China, the 1984-1985 famine in Ethiopia, and the eruption of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia in 1985. The case studies also investigate strategies that governments and private agencies have adopted to predict, manage, and survive natural disasters. Primary source materials and useful research tools round out this comprehensive new book.