Tuesday, October 17, 2006

World Bank Urges Countries to Hazard Approaches to Avoid Natural Disasters

Source: World Bank says 2005 was record year for natural disasters

Last week, the World Bank called for governments to have comprehensive hazard approaches in avoiding natural disasters. In 2005, natural disasters “killed more than 90,000 people and affected more than 150 million lives.” According to the World Bank/Columbia University report entitled “Natural Disaster Hotspots: Case Studies,” 2005 was a record year for natural disaster-related incidents. The 360 natural disasters in 2005 caused $159 billion in damage, a 71 percent increase over the total losses of $93 billion in 2004.

Factors contributing to the trend of natural disasters include the following: population and economic growth, rapid urbanization, environmental degradation, and climate change. According to the report, if countries do nothing to protect themselves from natural disaster risks, then this expensive trend will continue.

“Natural hazards and their impacts,” said Katherine Sierra, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, “will continue to evolve throughout the 21st Century due to changing socioeconomic conditions, coastal land use, and climatic risks. These reports, which provide the most comprehensive, accurate data of multi-hazard hotspots to date, can help improve disaster risk assessment globally and locally.”

National policy makers, planners, and humanitarian aids should understand the scale of a hazard, estimated costs, and how to identifying vulnerable groups in order to help improve emergency preparedness and save lives and assets.


1. How successful do you think developing and implementing a comprehensive disaster-relief plan will be to save international funds spent on natural disasters?

2. Can we really control population and economic growth, urbanization, climate changes, and coastal land use in order to curb the growth of natural disasters?

3. Are underdeveloped nations capable of developing such a plan for which the World Bank is calling?

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