Lessons from the Indonesian Experience
Edited by Michael Faure and Andri Wibisana
Chapter 9: Towards effective compensation for victims of natural catastrophes in developing countries
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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