Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention

By the World Bank and the United Nations; Reviewed by Paul Montminy, CPP

***** Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention. By World Bank and United Nations. World Bank; 276 pages; $39.95.

A collaborative effort, Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention, is the product of a team of seven World Bank economists. Resource information was provided by dozens of researchers from numerous government and private sector organizations. Despite the number of contributors, the book is exceptionally well-written with a substantial quantity of carefully researched information.

The book defines natural hazards as including major weather events, such as floods, earthquakes, and droughts. Unnatural disasters are defined as “deaths and damages which result from human acts of omission or commission.”

Case studies of floods, earthquakes, and other natural occurrences that have affected regions around the world are used to illustrate how preparation in the form of preventative countermeasures, or lack of them, determines the impact on national econo­mies and local development.

The authors go beyond the obvious implications, exploring long-term ancillary effects, such as the earning ability of children and the rise of regional conflicts. These and other discussions make the book interesting, but risk mitigation is examined on such a large scale that it may be hard for security professionals to apply what they learn on a practical level.

Reviewer: Paul Montminy, CPP, is director of campus safety and security at Miss Hall’s School in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He is a member of ASIS International.



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