The frequency and severity of natural disasters is a subject much studied by scientists, as we struggle to understand the condition of our fragile planet. Now, experts in risk management are making their own conclusions based on scientific evidence. The United Nations’ head of disaster planning is warning that failure to prepare for inevitable natural disasters will have “inconceivably bad” consequences, especially in light of cascading tragedies, where one event kicks off another equally destructive one.
Devastating earthquakes, floods, heat waves, and landslides are among the events that cause the most concern, given the staggering loss of life and damage to infrastructure that they leave behind. Estimates suggest these natural disasters cost $66.5 billion worldwide in 2015 alone, but global spending on projects that would protect people and communities from such disasters is downright minuscule. Less than half of one percent of the global aid budget is spent on mitigation efforts and resilient designs.
Experts warn that the world has already fallen short when it comes to humanitarian responses to natural disasters, and that failing to adequately plan for future events is a big mistake. Climate change is likely to increase the frequency and severity of cascading natural disasters, according to Robert Glasser, head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). “If you see that we’re already spending huge amounts of money and are unable to meet the humanitarian need,” he said, “and then you overlay that with not just population growth … [but] you put climate change on top of that, where we’re seeing an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters… you realize that the only way we’re going to be able to deal with these trends is by getting out ahead of them and focusing on reducing disaster risk.”
Via The Guardian