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Counting the cost of calamities

Source(s):  Economist, the

While the world has succeeded in making 'natural' disasters less deadly, through better early-warning systems for tsunamis, better public information about evacuation plans, tougher building codes in quake-prone areas and so on, their economic cost is rising, states a briefing from The economist. "This is because a growing share of the world’s population and economic activity is being concentrated in disaster-prone places: on tropical coasts and river deltas, near forests and along earthquake fault lines," it explains. "Mitigation measures should not discourage people from crowding into vulnerable cities but rather establish incentives for cities and their inhabitants to protect themselves better," it continues.

The article highlights examples from past years' major disaster events such as Japan’s earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Thailand floods in 2011, Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and heavy river flooding in the Netherlands in 1953, 1993 and 1995, which led to successful floodplain development and unifying water management projects.

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  • Publication date 14 Jan 2012

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