Natural Hazards

, Volume 46, Issue 2, pp 143–152 | Cite as

Natech risk and management: an assessment of the state of the art

  • Laura J. SteinbergEmail author
  • Hatice Sengul
  • Ana Maria Cruz
Original Paper


The present state-of-the-art for natech risk and management is discussed. Examples of recent natechs include catastrophic oil spills associated with Hurricane Katrina and hazardous chemical releases in Europe during the heavy floods of 2002. Natechs create difficult challenges for emergency responders due to the geographical extent of the natural disaster, the likelihood of simultaneous releases, emergency personnel being preoccupied with response to the natural disaster, mitigation measures failing due to the effects of the natural disaster, and others. Recovery from natechs may be much more difficult than for “normal” chemical accidents, as the economic and social conditions of the industrial facility and the surrounding community may have been drastically altered by the natural disaster. Potential safeguards against natechs include adoption of stricter design criteria, chemical process safeguards, community land use planning, disaster mitigation and response planning, and sustainable industrial processes, but these safeguards are only sporadically applied. Ultimately, the public must engage in a comprehensive discussion of acceptable risks for natechs.


Natechs Chemical accidents Industrial accidents Hurricanes Hurricane Katrina Mitigation Response 



Financial support for this research has been provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation (CMMI-0750166) for which the authors are grateful.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laura J. Steinberg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hatice Sengul
    • 2
  • Ana Maria Cruz
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Civil EngineeringSouthern Methodist UniversityDallasUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Environmental Science and PolicyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  3. 3.European Commission, Joint Research CenterIspraItaly

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