Regulating Disasters, Climate Change and Environmental Harm
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Regulating Disasters, Climate Change and Environmental Harm

Lessons from the Indonesian Experience

Edited by Michael Faure and Andri Wibisana

This book deals with questions concerning the regulation of disasters, climate change and environmental harm in developing countries, focusing on the particular case of Indonesia and addressing regulatory problems from a multidisciplinary perspective.
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Chapter 9: Towards effective compensation for victims of natural catastrophes in developing countries

Michael Faure


Many developing countries are victims of various types of catastrophes. A distinction is usually made between on the one hand technological disasters, which are also referred to as man-made disasters and on the other hand natural catastrophes. Examples of technological disasters are oil spills, nuclear accidents, but also explosions in particular plants or a fire in a public building. Natural catastrophes include heavy rainfall, flooding, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis and many others. Data show that whereas the insured losses resulting from man-made disasters seem to remain constant in the period 1970–2007 there is a substantial increase in the insured losses due to natural catastrophes. There is a third type of catastrophe which is usually put separately, being catastrophes caused by terrorism. They are usually treated separately because on the one hand they are obviously man-made, but on the other hand they have in common with natural catastrophes that the injurer (the terrorist) can usually not be found or is insolvent as a result of which liability rules cannot apply (which may be different in the case of other man-made disasters like fires or explosions).Moreover, in some cases it may be difficult to adequately distinguish between man-made disasters and natural catastrophes. For example heavy rainfall could in some cases lead to flooding because infrastructural works have changed rivers as a result of which the natural carrying capacity of waters has decreased and governments in some cases even have promoted building in flood-prone areas.

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