Researchers from Columbia University, the World Bank, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute and other partners produced a report entitled “Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis” which presented a global view of areas highly prone to natural disasters and risks associated with such natural hazards. The aim of this report is to inform and design developmental efforts to reduce disaster related losses in the future by identifying high-risk geographic regions in the world.
This report analyses the characteristics and location of risky hotspots for six major natural disasters like drought, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. According to report, more than half the world’s population i.e. about 3.4 billion people live in at least one hazard prone area, which could effect their lives miserably. These natural hazards cause innumerable deaths, sufferings and losses to the amount of billion of dollars every year throughout the world.
The worst affected are the developing countries, which cannot absorb the huge cost associated with disaster relief, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction due to repeated disasters and thus gets caught in a poverty trap. World Bank provided emergency assistance to the amount US$ 14.4 billion to 20 countries from 1980-2003 as claimed in this report which has serious implications on the method of working of the World Bank. This startling statistics recommend the International development community to adopt the proactive and preventive approach to address the disasters before actually they hit to reduce the vulnerability of developing countries to natural hazards.
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This will also help in their mission of fighting poverty. Keeping in view the same objective, it also recommends that managing disaster risk should not be taken only as a humanitarian issue but also be an integral part of development planning of any nation. Information on Multi-hazard Risk management strategies, encouraging their implementation, promoting development of long-term plans and improving exchange of information at local, national, regional and global levels among organizations and individuals is supplied in this report.
This report also summarizes the case studies, which this project undertook to exhibit methods to reduce vulnerability of the areas by adopting appropriate risk-sensitive strategies. In short, this report explicitly and scientifically explains the ways to manage natural hazards to reduce Poverty and vulnerability.
In the words of Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, “The Natural Disaster Hotspots report is a path-breaking effort and a wonderful scientific accomplishment. I'm certain that it will prove to be a crucial tool and will stimulate further research in the area. Applying risk analysis to disasters such as earthquakes, drought, and other natural hazards using rigorous science will have huge benefits for policy-makers and for the world.” (Provention Consortium) Now, the need is to coordinate the efforts globally to focus on the areas at the highest risk of natural disaster and reduce their risks, which still remains uncoordinated.
- Earth Institute News (March 29, 2005) Risk Analysis Reports Over Half of World’s Population Exposed to One or More Major Natural Hazards Retrieved on June 21, 2007 from W.W.W: http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/news/2005/story03-29-05.html
- Provention Consortium Activities: Identification and Analysis of Global Disaster Risk Hotspots Retrieved on June 21, 2007 from W.W.W: http://www.proventionconsortium.org/?pageid=32;projectid=15
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