Natural disasters are one of the major problems facing humankind. Between 1980 and 2004, two million people were reported killed and five billion people cumulatively affected by around 7,000 natural disasters, according to the dataset maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at University of Louvain (Belgium). The economic costs are considerable and rising. The direct economic damage from natural disasters between 1980-2004 is estimated at around $1 trillion. This paper starts by describing the incidence of natural disasters, where they strike, and their development over time. It then discusses how societal factors act to protect people from or expose them to natural hazards. The final section discusses the determinants and targets of international aid to disaster victims.
"Natural Disasters, Economic Development, and Humanitarian Aid." Journal of Economic Perspectives,