What really matters, what unites disasters of all stripes, including earthquakes in Japan, tornadoes in Oklahoma, oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico, and the terrorist attacks on 9/11, is how you respond during the disaster, how you recover from it afterwards, and how you prepare - or better, prevent - the next disaster from happening. This is what disaster theorists, including Professor Dan Farber at Berkeley Law, term the "disaster cycle." In simplest terms: readiness, response, and recovery.
Clifford J. Villa,
The Dawning of Disaster Law,
Available at: https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/law_facultyscholarship/326