Whether it be an earthquake or a tsunami, a cyclone or floods, the risk of a natural event turning into a disaster always depends only partly on the force of the natural event itself. The living conditions of the people in the regions affected and the options available to respond quickly and toprovide assistance are just as significant.
Those who are prepared, who know what to do in the event of an extreme natural event, have a greater chance of survival. Countries that see natural hazards coming, that are preparing for the consequences of climate change and are providing the financial means required will be better prepared for the future. The WorldRiskReport should contribute to look at these links at a global level and draw future-oriented conclusions regarding assistance measures, policies and reporting.
As an essential part of the WorldRiskReport, the WorldRiskIndex, created by United Nations Universitys Institute for Environment and Human Security, indicates the risk of disaster in consequence of exreme natural events for 171 countrys.
Logistics and Infrastructure
Focus WorldRiskReport 2016
This is where information technology like the Internet or mobile phones as well as more recent technology such as drones or 3D printers, can support humanitarian logistics – that is, if they have not been impaired by a collapsed local power supply. But technology-based solutions aside, there still remains a host of challenges: examples include supporting self-help measures, coordinating the involved actors, making use of local resources, and the controversial issue of cooperations with the private sector and armed forces.
Experts at topics of logistics and infrastructure
Topic overview 2011-2015
- 2015 Food security
- 2014 The city as a risk area
- 2013 Health and Healthcare
- 2012 Environmental degradation and disasters
- 2011 Governance and civil society
Disasters can have devastating impacts on a country’s food security – not only in the short term, but also long after they have occurred. They destroy harvests, stocks, and transport routes, and therefore above all the livelihoods of those depending on agriculture. However, the reverse is true as well. It is not unusual for extreme natural events to turn into disasters because the population affected is particularly vulnerable due to a poor food situation. In the worst case, the combined effect of disasters and food insecurity leads to a fatal downward spiral, with the people hit slipping from one crisis into the next. A world without hunger would therefore also mean fewer disasters.
Urbanization is one of the megatrends of our times – and as such it bears a vast complexity. While the pull of the cities often creates problems for rural regions in the industrialized countries, massive urban population growth is posing great challenges for the metropolises in many developing countries. For often enough, the growth of cities exceeds the capacity of authorities to develop and maintain adequate social and physical infrastructure. One of the most pressing results is the formation of marginal settlements in which urban dwellers lack basic civil rights and often compete for ill-paid jobs and low food availability. They are especially vulnerable towards natural hazards. But urbanization does not produce exclusively negative effects on vulnerability, it can also create new chances for strengthening coping and adaptive mechanisms. Given the thematic focus “The city as a risk area”, the WorldRiskReport 2014 separately assesses the risk for urban areas.
Whether it be drought, cyclone, earthquake or floods, when an extreme natural event hits a village or a town, the vulnerability of the society crucially depends on the population’s health status as well as the health care and its functioning in crisis and disaster situations. But in times of the global financial crisis, the health systems worldwide are being subjected even more strongly to economic principles. Often humans facing an already unacceptable vulnerability suffer the most from these austerity and privatization measures. The other way around extreme natural events can cause direct health problems like heart and circulation problems and contribute to an increase and spread of disease carriers. A comprehensive approach to strengthening health systems and care therefore shows to be indispensable for disaster preparedness and response.
Disasters can have considerable effects on the environment and cause damage for ecosystems. Cyclones can pull over thousands of trees and destroy coral reefs or floods can contribute to erosions and damage solum. In turn, the destruction of the environment and its natural protective function in pursuit of economic interests increases the risk of disaster in the wake of extreme natural events. Flooded coastal villages and washed away beaches whose natural protective belt of mangroves has been chopped down are just some examples among many others. This interaction between environmental destruction and disasters still gets too little attention by politics and science. Environmental protection and a sustainable handling of the environment should be strengthened from the local to the global level and included in disaster preparedness.
Humans can only influence to a limited degree whether, and with what intensity, natural events are to occur. But states can considerable influence the extent of a disaster by their governance in disaster preparedness and response. Especially states of weak governance are often not able to implement consistent strategies and measures and maintain mechanism to reduce the disaster risks. The vulnerability of the population is consequently high. In the complex interaction between governance and disasters, civil society can play an active role by demanding responsible and effective state policies and starting initiatives for disaster risk reduction.
Worldmap of Risk
- very low
0,08 - 3,46
3,47 - 5,46
5,47 - 7,30
7,31 - 10,39
- very high
10,40 - 36,72
- no data