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An interesting infographic from the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction shows the annual damages caused by large-scale natural disasters. It provides context for people killed by disasters, a staggering 1.1 million, those affected, 2.7 billion, and the total cost in damage, 1.3 trillion USD. This information from EM-DAT The International Disaster Database includes all disasters entered into its database (both natural and technological) are based on at least one of these criteria: 10 or more people reported killed, 100 or more people reported affected, declaration of a state of emergency or call for international assistance. Read more
A World Risk Index was released earlier this month by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany. It uses four indicators to define countries at risk to natural disasters namely exposure, susceptibility, coping capacities and adaptive capacities. It gives a ‘risk score’ for 173 countries around the world by combining their exposure to physical hazards with their vulnerability, including susceptibility along with coping and adaptive capacities. It focuses on countries’ exposure to sudden hazards such as earthquakes, floods and storms, but also hazards that occur slowly over a long period of time such as drought and sea level rise that is becoming more frequent due to climate change.
According to the World Risk Index, the risk of disaster is highest for the Pacific island of Vanuatu, which was given a score of 32 percent. The country with the lowest risk score is Qatar at .02 percent. The UK came in at 138 mostly due to its ‘Lack of coping capacity’ (47.55 percent), but also ‘Lack of adaptive capacities (30.25 percent) and ‘Vulnerability’ (31.11 percent). Japan appears to be the only developed country with an index of around 10 percent or more, making its risk index one of the highest (World Rank: 35) of all the countries analysed. Read more