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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

The past two decades have brought an onslaught of increasingly severe natural disasters. Scientists warn that climate change will continue to worsen this phenomenon. Infrastructure has not, and will not, hold up to the threats these natural disaster pose. In light of this new global reality, this Note explores what duty a state has to prepare for, warn of, and mitigate natural disaster damages. Past disasters have left victims unsatisfied with their government’s response to their needs. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina left victims in the U.S. Gulf region abandoned for days; in 2008, the Myanmar government refused to accept foreign aid after Cyclone Nargis swept through the countryside; and in 2009, Italian government scientists offered citizens of L’Aquila absolute assurance that they were safe to return to their homes, merely days before a 6.3 magnitude earthquake devastated the region. The extent of a state’s duty, as well as access to relief, have left victims with tremendous uncertainty. Even with these hurdles and in light of the overwhelming practical and policy concerns, the needs of victims might be best satisfied outside the context of litigation.

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