Disaster risk on rise globally: UN

KATHMANDU: Global disaster risk is on the rise due to improper urbanisation and the combined impact of environmental destruction and climate change, putting at risk the lives of hundreds of millions of people across the globe, reveals a UN report launched here today.

Lack of government attention, unplanned urbanisation and miserable economic conditions have all contributed to the recurrence of disasters that take their toll on livelihoods across the low and middle-income countries, the report adds.

“This report is another reminder of high vulnerability of Nepal’s people to natural hazards,” UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal Robert Piper said during the launch of the first Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.

Referring to the latest political development in Nepal, he said, “The political tremors of the last few weeks in Nepal will look like a storm in a tea-cup if tremors like those of the 1934 earthquake recur any day soon.”

Global disaster risk is highly concentrated in poorer countries with weaker governance. The most intensive risk is found in a very small portion of the earth’s surface in mainly three countries - Bangladesh, China and India, each heavily populated, the report said. Weather-related disaster risk is expanding rapidly both in terms of the territories affected, the losses reported and the frequency of events. In 12 countries across Asia and Latin America, 97 per cent of municipal disaster loss reports were linked to weather related hazards.

The report also indicated that climate change was affecting the geographic distribution, frequency and intensity of weather-related hazards.