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The International Law of Disaster Relief (Book Review) Open Access Deposited

A common thread that runs through this impressive collection of scholarly works is introduced early on; the legal framework for disaster response is nearly as random as the events themselves. Whether it is the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, or this year’s devastating droughts in East Africa, there seems to be no shortage of human victims of natural disasters. Additionally, disaster response at times looks similar to the aftermath of a car accident, with survivors and witnesses left to pick up the pieces. However, despite the omnipresent threat of natural disasters, laws at the international and domestic levels are inconsistent at best and, at worst, can even exacerbate the crisis at hand. What is the best course of action for a host state and the international community before and after a disaster occurs? What rights must be protected and what kinds of corresponding duties and obligations are present? It is these questions, along with their many uncertainties, affected parties, and the legal and philosophical underpinnings of potential legal frameworks with which the contributors and editors of The International Law of Disaster Relief wrestle.

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