Top 10 cities most at risk of natural disaster

Natural Disasters
CC BY 2.0 Flickr

Earthquakes, floods, storms, tsunamis, etc...

All the natural disasters in the news lately made us wonder what parts of the world were most threatened by things like floods & earthquakes. Massive reinsurer Swiss Re (a reinsurance company sells insurance to insurance companies, allowing them to offload some risks...) has a new report titled "Mind the risk: A global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters" (pdf) that sheds some light on exactly that. Using their sophisticated modelling software and huge database of past events, they came up with a probabilistic ranking.

There are all kinds of ways to look at the data, but here are some of the most interesting variations.

Swiss Re/Screen capture

Most are in greater Asia, apart from Los Angeles in the USA. This is not surprising because of higher population densities.

Swiss Re/Screen capture

The list changes a bit if we look at it by "working days lost". More European and US cities appear on the top 10.

If we look at just earthquake risk, this is what the top 10 looks like for both people affected and working days lost:

Swiss Re/Screen capture

Here's the same, but for storm ranking, which should be impacted by global warming (unlike earthquakes):

Swiss Re/Screen capture

River flooding:

Swiss Re/Screen capture

Tsunami:

Swiss Re/Screen capture

We can have an impact on some of these by combatting global warming, while other things are out of our control (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc). But it's not because we can't prevent an earthquake that we can't prepare for one -- there are many ways to make on civilization more resilient to shocks, making sure that when the worst happens, there are as few casualties as possible and things like power generation, health services, and food production and distribution are as little disturbed as possible.

Via Swiss Re

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Tags: Natural Disasters

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