Between 1990 and 2009, the average annual cost for disasters worldwide was $97.5 billion. However, this enormous number is just a fraction of the total cost, which can also be measured in the 1.4 million lives that were lost in more than 5,000 disasters, and in the lives of another 4 billion people affected. Disasters of all types of have increased; and despite a greater emphasis on disaster preparedness, people who live in low-income countries are four times more likely to die in disasters than those who live in wealthy nations. But in developing nations and industrialized nations alike, the number of victims will exceed the local capacity for healthcare. First responders, medical personnel on-site and in hospitals, and professionals and lay volunteers locally and ...

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