responds to a wide variety of disasters throughout the world every year. These disasters range from "slow-moving " events like prolonged drought or plagues of grasshoppers and locusts to "fast-moving " threats to human populations resulting from fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and volcanoes. Although disaster types vary considerably, there is a recurring theme of disaster assistance elements that constitutes a meaningful and effective response. Critically evaluating the "lessons learned " from recent responses to world-wide natural disasters will prepare the disaster management specialist to develop an improved international assistance program for the 21st century. Details of natural disasters, the response process and "lessons learned " are given and future developments that will strengthen disaster assistance are discussed. A case example of the 1987 wildfires in southern Argentina illustrates disaster management requirements and needs.