Monday, September 19, 2011

Prepare Yourself, Natural Disasters Will Only Get Worse

Erwann Michel-Kerjan

The world has entered a new era of catastrophes. Economic losses from hurricanes, earthquakes and resulting tsunamis, floods, wildfires and other natural disasters increased from $528 billion (1981-1990) to more than $1.2 trillion over the period 2001-2010. The 9.0 earthquake and massive tsunami in Japan this past spring caused hundreds of billions of dollars of direct and indirect costs. It has affected the Japanese macroeconomic forecast and resulted in the departure of the then-prime minister. And before this, massive earthquakes in Haiti, Chile and New Zealand inflicted record human and financial losses as well. Despite being the richest country in the world, America is still highly vulnerable to natural disasters. Two principal socioeconomic factors directly influence the level of economic losses due to catastrophic events: exposed population and value at risk.

We must limit the amount of new construction in high-risk areas and make sure people and firms already in those areas have proper financial coverage to assure they can get back on their feet quickly after the next catastrophe. This will cut down on taxpayer expense. Unless we start to get serious about making the country more resilient to natural disasters, we won’t be prepared for what the 21st century has in store for us. Without quite realizing it yet, America is at war against the weather. Irene and the wildfires in Texas are just the latest battles. More is soon and sure to follow.


  1. "floods, wildfires and other natural disasters increased from $528 billion (1981-1990) to more than $1.2 trillion over the period 2001-2010."

    with inflation and the current cost of money
    That would just be about the same amount

    ten years from now is will be 10 trillion
    thanks to of governments money machine

  2. any dumb sonofabitch that builds a house 50 feet from the atlantic ocean deserves what he gets


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