Asia most exposed to disaster risk

Asia most exposed to disaster risk


Asia has the largest number of people exposed to natural disasters, but African countries are the most vulnerable to them, largely because of political instability, corruption, poverty and inequality, a new global assessment shows.India has a billion people at risk, with China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan and Pakistan also ranked among the 10 countries with the most people exposed to natural hazards, according to data compiled by Verisk Maplecroft, a UK-based risk management company.In all, 1.4 billion people in South Asia are exposed to at least one major natural hazard, from severe storms to flooding and earthquakes, researchers said.But the list of countries most vulnerable to disasters – in terms of their ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from them – is topped by African nations, particularly conflict-plagued South Sudan, Burundi and Eritrea.”Recent or prolonged conflict can erode societal resilience,” warned Richard Hewston, an analyst with Verisk Maplecroft who led the development of the natural hazards data.

Much vulnerability in Africa and elsewhere is the result of poor governance – including corruption – and an inability to implement policies to reduce disaster risk, Hewston said.”For example, in India and Pakistan, to some extent, there are building codes in place but they are very weakly implemented. You see construction going on, on the sides of landslide-prone mountains or in flood plains,” he said.”In theory, there’s urban planning,” he added. “So clearly corruption is an issue.”In Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, more than 85 percent of people are exposed to at least one kind of natural hazard, researchers noted.But all three countries are classed as having low vulnerability, and together recorded less than 32,000 deaths from natural disasters since 1990.Haiti, on the other hand, is not as exposed to potential disasters but is considered highly vulnerable, having suffered over 230,000 deaths since 1990, many in a major 2010 earthquake.


Comments are closed.