Half a Century of Natural Disasters in the Pacific Basin: Historical Perspectives on the Future

August 1992 (VOL. 10, NO. 2)

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This paper briefly explores and comments on three interrelated themes: the natural riskiness of the Pacific Basin; recent changes in patterns of disasters; and trends in society and environment that may affect the potential for future disasters. Losses of life due to disasters appear to be declining in recent decades throughout much of the region except Latin America and Southeast Asia, where they may be increasing. Environmental and societal changes in the Basin are likely to produce new types of disaster potential that may modify historical patterns of disaster.