Report: Rising tech hubs, South Asia dangerously exposed to disaster risk | News | DW | 23.03.2016
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Report: Rising tech hubs, South Asia dangerously exposed to disaster risk

A new global report has shown that while Asia may be at higher risk for natural disasters, Africa is far more vulnerable to them. That's due to a lessened ability to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

The report by risk analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft released on Wednesday looked at 11 different types of disasters, including blizzards, tsunamis, wildfires and earthquakes. It found that Asian countries, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and Japan, were among the top ten countries at risk for destruction from mother nature, particularly flooding.

"For example, in India and Pakistan, to some extent, there are building codes in place but they are very weakly implemented. You see construction going on, on the sides of landslide-prone mountains or in flood plains," Verisk Maplecroft researcher Richard Hewston was quoted by Reuters as saying.

"In theory, there's urban planning," Hewston added. "So clearly corruption is an issue."

Indeed, flooding in South India cost the government 3 billion dollars (2.67 billion euros) last year and displaced over 100,000 people, according to the firm's website. Despite this, 113 million people remained at highly exposed to flood dangers in the country, with 76 million in a similar situation in Bangladesh and 10 million in Pakistan.

Interesting, the report also cautioned that growing tech hubs like Osaka, Japan, Mexico City and Sao Paolo, Brazil were in the 10 most exposed cities in the world.

Despite these rankings, much smaller and less populous countries like South Sudan, Burundi, and Eritrea were likely to suffer more should disaster strike. The researchers wrote that lack of infrastructure and ongoing conflict could mean that nations at lower risk of natural hazards could still suffer large humanitarian losses. Indeed, of the top ten countries in the Natural Hazards Vulnerability Index, Africa is home to 8 of the top ten, with Afghanistan coming in at number 3.

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