Billions of dollars and millions of people are involved in disaster relief, yet catastrophes around the world continue to take an enormous toll in human lives and treasure. Some disaster-relief efforts are more successful than others, with national governments playing a pivotal role. The response to the tsunami of 2004 can be cited among focused international efforts, while the relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina can be cited as more problematic. The international community is watching as China copes in new ways with the recent earthquake in Sichuan province and as relief efforts continue for earthquake victims in Haiti. This encyclopedia covers the response to disasters, from governments to NGOs, from charities to politics, from refugees to health, and from economics to international relations. Entries cover issues in both historical and contemporary context, with information on disaster relief around the world. The volumes include information relevant to students of sociology, national security, economics, health sciences, political science, emergency preparedness, history, agriculture, and many other subjects. The goal is to help readers appreciate the importance of the effects, responsibilities, and ethics of disaster relief, and to initiate educational discussion brought forth by the specific cultural, scientific, and topical articles contained within the work. Including 425 signed entries in a two-volume set presented in A-to-Z format, and drawing contributors from varied academic disciplines, this encyclopedia examines disaster response and relief in a manner that is authoritative yet accessible, jargon-free, and balanced to help readers better understand issues from varied perspectives.