Friday, March 18, 2011

A decade of disasters

Data Blog in the Guardian (UK): In the days since disaster first struck Japan, comparisons with the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti have been quick to emerge. While the final human cost of the Japan disaster is still unknown, it is still unlikely to compare to the 222,570-strong death toll from the Haiti earthquake.

Charles Kenny, from the US-based Centre for Global Development called this "seismic inequality". It is evidence, he said, that "the usual pattern has been repeated: Earthquakes don't kill people in rich countries; they kill people in poor countries." Over the past decade, countries across the world – both rich and poor – have witnessed thousands of major natural disasters. We've pulled out some of the data, from the 2010 World Disasters Report.

…The report also features a special focus on the risks and impacts of disasters on cities and urban areas, warning that the world's 2.57 billion urban dwellers living in low and middle-income countries are particularly exposed to disaster risk. Those worst-affected by the world's disasters are vulnerable city dwellers living in slums and unplanned settlements, says the report.

Last week, the Disasters Emergency Committee - an umbrella organisation of 13 humanitarian aid agencies - issued a report warning that the world should expect three to five big urban disasters in the next 10 years. It also warned that the 950 million people who live in urban slums worldwide would be particularly vulnerable in a disaster…

The favela in Nova Friburgo, Brazil, shot by Nate Cull, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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