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Disaster Risk Reduction Platform
Disasters are on the rise
Number and severity of "natural" disasters is high all over the globe. Economic damage stays at about USD 200 billion per year and the yearly number of affected persons is of the order of 200 millions. Figures were rising dramatically in the last 3 to 4 decades (see graph below). In contrast, the death toll is relatively stable and varies between less than 100,000 and 300,000 persons a year. During the last decade, a number of so-called "mega events" occurred: the Indian Ocean tsunami (2004), the Kashmir earthquake (2005), the Haiti earthquake (2010) or the Pakistan floods (2010).
Many reasons account for the dramatic increase of (economic) damage: population pressure, increased use of hazardous areas, urbanisation, concentration of values, environmental change and, last but not least, climate variability and climate change. It is obvious that the vulnerability of households, communities and whole nations is rapidly increasing, thus being responsible for large parts of this increase in risks and subsequent disasters.
A large part of the economic damage accumulates in the more developed countries. However this damage constitutes a fraction of the respective GDP. In contrary, economic loss in the less developed countries is, in absolute figures, much smaller, but may constitute a substantial part of the GDP; in other words: The poor are most affected.
Steady increase of the number of natural catastrophes for the last 30 years
Source Munich Re, Topics Geo 2009