1. DISASTER OVERVIEW
Disasters hurt the poor and vulnerable the most. Over the past 30 years, more than 2.5 million people and almost $4 trillion have been lost to disasters caused by natural hazards, with global losses quadrupling from $50 billion a year in the 1980s to $200 billion in the last decade. The World Bank’s Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty report finds that almost 75% 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. The Bank’s Unbreakable report finds that natural disasters have had large and long-lasting impacts on poverty. Population growth and rapid urbanization are driving the increase in disaster risks.
The United Nations estimates that more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. The Bank’s Aftershocks report explains that these trends could put 1.3 billion people and $158 trillion in assets at risk from river and coastal floods alone. According to the Bank’sInvesting in Urban Resilience report, by 2030, without significant investment into making cities more resilient, natural disasters may cost cities worldwide $314 billion each year.
Mainstreaming disaster risk management into development planning can reverse the current trend of rising disaster impact. Furthermore, when countries rebuild stronger, faster and more inclusively after disasters, they can reduce the impact on people’s livelihoods and well-being by as much as 31%, potentially cutting global average losses. 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.