Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes

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Dramatic events, such as the earthquake that struck China’s Sichuan Province in 2008 and the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in the United States in 2005, have brought the financial management of catastrophic risks once again to the forefront of the public policy agenda globally. To address these issues and develop sound policies, the OECD has established an International Network on the Financial Management of Large-Scale Catastrophes. This publication supports the ongoing activities of the Network.

This book contains three reports focusing on different institutional approaches to the financial management of large-scale catastrophes in selected OECD and non-OECD countries, the role of risk mitigation and insurance in reducing the impact of natural disasters, and the importance of strategic leadership in the management of non-conventional crises.


Part 2. Introduction

Over the past few years, the losses from natural disasters have increased significantly both in OECD and non-OECD countries. In countries that benefit from warning systems and effective mitigation programs, consequences are often much lower than in emerging economies that are deprived of such capacity. In south-east Asia, the tsunami in December 2004 killed more than 280 000 people residing in coastal areas within just a few hours. A month after Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Burma in May 2008, as the deadliest natural disaster in the recorded history of the country, it was estimated that this severe cyclone had killed over 200 000 people. The same month the Great Sichuan Earthquake in China is estimated to have killed nearly 70 000 people and 5 million others homeless though this number could be as high as 11 million.


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