‘A picture of a benign planet characterised by an unchanging or slowly changing environment has always, therefore, been a wildly inaccurate one’ (p. 3). That observation is the context for this book’s account of natural hazards, those arising from rapid change as a result of physical rather than biological causes. That does not imply that interrelationships are left out, as in the case of increasing flood hazard brought about by devegetation, and of course anthropogenic warming of the climate.

Hazard conflates likelihood with potential death and injury, and economic losses. It is akin to the risk assessment we all now...

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