Disasters hurt the poor and vulnerable the most. From 1995 through 2014, 89 percent of storm-related fatalities were in lower-income countries, even though these countries experienced just 26 percent of storms.
The impact of disasters will continue to grow as climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. According to Munich Reinsurance Company, global losses due to adverse natural events were estimated at $4.2 trillion between 1980 and 2014. During this period, such losses have increased rapidly, rising from $50 billion a year in the 1980s to nearly $200 billion a year in the last decade. Analysis performed for Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty, a report, almost 75 percent of the losses are attributable to extreme weather events, and climate change threatens to push an additional 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
Economic development, population growth, and rapid urbanization are driving the increase in disaster losses. According to the United Nations, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. Mainstreaming disaster risk management into development planning can reverse the current trend of rising disaster impact. If countries act decisively, they can save lives and assets. However, many developing countries lack the tools, expertise, and instruments to factor the potential impacts of disasters into their investment decisions.
Last Updated: Sep 19,2016