This question is not really related to objectivism, but I am somewhat intersted in "What would Ayn Rand say?", with emphasis on her defense of capitalism rather than her general philosophy.
Accepting the premise that the sole role of the government is to protect us against violation of our human rights, what role should it take in the event of natural disasters, e.g. hurricanes or an epidemic.
My feeling is that by definition, human rights can only be violated by humans, thus it makes no sense to demand the government to protect us against such natural enemies. However, while I might sympathize with Rand's stance on government grants, I find it more difficult to disprove the necessity of government encouragement towards research in case of a dangerous epidemic, or help with restoring infrastructure after some natural disaster.
To sum up, I want to know what is the role of the government in such cases, in a complete laissez faire system. Does the responsibility fall to the relevant entities, e.g. owners of the land in case of hurricanes and self interest (and even altruism) to work towards a cure in the epidemic case, or does the criticality of the matter call for government interference. Global economic crisis should not be possible in laissez faire capitalism, but we can't prevent natural disasters.