This paper covers the development of international legal mechanisms designed to respond to natural disasters. Particularly, disasters brought on or exacerbated by human activities is the focus of this paper. For example, there is often a direct causal link between a disaster and previous environmental degradation. The author provides cases in which previous environmental degradation brought on or worsened disasters. The paper then discusses tools developed to mitigate environmental degradation resulting from poor decision making. These tools fall under the term "environmental impact assessment." In recent years there has been a general movement by the international community in the direction of recognizing and delineating the legal obligation of states in connection with natural disasters. There is substantial need to develop a body of international disaster relief law which deals not only with response, but with mitigation and prevention of disasters.



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