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History of Disaster Relief, Ancient World

From the earliest days of human history, civilizations have been shaped by natural disasters, and governments have included disaster relief among their necessary duties. Civilizations developed where there were resources to support their growth, but dependence on those resources created a vulnerability—to the flooding of rivers, to tsunamis and hurricanes for coastal communities, to volcanic eruptions for communities reaping the agricultural benefits of volcanically-enriched soil. Advances in civilization led first to a greater dependence on agriculture (over foraging and hunting), which increased vulnerability to the weather; further advances led to urban living and greater dangers of fires. Over time, various civilizations developed means of mitigating the effects of such disasters, and as they prospered, they took on the task of assisting those victimized by ...

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