The United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft on 25 August 2016 released the World Risk Report 2016, that analyzes the role of infrastructure in shaping a country's disaster risk.
The World Risk Index is an integral part of the report as it ranks 171 countries according to the risk of becoming a victim of a disaster as a result of natural hazards such as floods, cyclones, or earthquakes.
The Index was prepared and calculated by the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
Highlights of the Report
• It finds that inadequate infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster.
• When it comes to aid measures following extreme natural events, the challenges mostly lie in the last mile of the logistics chain: organising transportation despite destroyed streets or bridges.
• Crumbling transport routes, unreliable electricity grids and dilapidated buildings not only hinder humanitarian aid from overseas, but also delay crucial aid for those affected in the disaster.
• Sufficient, high-quality infrastructure cannot only prevent the often catastrophic consequences of natural hazards such as flooding or storms.
• Critical infrastructure can thus reduce the risk of natural hazards for populations and it can mitigate economic losses.
• Over the last few decades, the world has experienced an increasing number of catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, storms and droughts.
• Disasters are not natural per se. A disaster occurs when natural hazards hit a highly vulnerable society. Vulnerability results from the complex interplay of social, economic, environmental and governance-related factors like public infrastructure, poverty and inequality.
• Infrastructure can be decisive in determining the impact of disasters. Countries and their economies depend on critical infrastructure like communication, transportation public institutions to function.
• Having infrastructure in place is only the first step. People and the institutions should ensure that critical infrastructure is maintained and managed properly to mitigate the negative impacts of natural hazards.
• Southeast Asia, Central America, Oceania and the Southern Sahel are consistently disaster risk hotspots. These regions consistently face higher disaster risk due to their high vulnerability and high exposure to natural hazards such as earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts and to sea level rise.
• It identifies a strong need for action for improving the logistics and infrastructure in the countries Benin, Burundi, Haiti, Cambodia, Cameroon, Madagascar, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Chad, which are at severe risk of extreme natural events.
Highlights of the World Risk Index 2016
• Vanuatu is the country with the highest risk of disaster (index value: 36.28) among the 171 countries included in the World Risk Index 2016.
• Tonga (index value: 29.33) and the Philippines (index value: 26.70) rank number 2 and 3.
• Germany is ranked at number 147 (index value: 2.95).
• The hotspot regions for the risk of disaster are located in Oceania, South-East Asia, Central America and in Southern Sahel.
•Netherlands is a country with a very high hazards exposure (rank 12), meaning that almost one third of its population is exposed to floods, storms, sea-level rise, or other hazards.
• Bangladesh also has high hazards exposure level (rank 10) but ranks near the top (5) on the overall risk index.
• Pakistan ranks 72th while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at 63rd and 5th position respectively.
• China and Nepal are ranked at 85th and 108th position respectively.
India's position in World Risk Index 2016
India ranks 77 on the World Risk Index, marginally better positioned than Pakistan which is placed at 72nd position.
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