Tsunami in Samoa, massive flooding in Manila, earthquake in Sumatra – if you think there are more catastrophic acts of nature these days, you’re right. In fact, the number of natural disasters has doubled in the past twenty years. Last year some 400 natural disasters affected over 200 million people, killing 16,000 people and displacing close to 50 million from their homes. Natural disasters affect both rich and poor countries; while they generally produce higher economic losses in developed countries, casualties are higher in developing ones. And scientists tell us that disasters, particularly hydrometeor-logical disasters – flooding, cyclones, hurricanes, etc. – are likely to increase in both frequency and severity as a result of climate change.