Almost One Billion People in Cities Across the Globe Are Exposed to Natural Disaster Risk

by Jared Wade on April 9, 2012 · 0 comments

There are 450 urban areas on the planet with a population of least one million people, according to the United Nations. In total, these are the areas where 1.4 billion people live. And a whopping 890 million of them are at risk from natural disasters across the world.

“Major cities in Europe and Africa are the least exposed overall,” states a recent U.N. report on urbanization. “Only 26 percent and 37 percent of their cities with one million inhabitants or more are living in regions exposed to at least one major risk of natural disaster. However, cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Northern America, and especially in Asia are often located in regions exposed to natural hazards.”

We spend a lot of time discussing how people across the globe are now at a greater risk to natural disasters than ever before. There are many causes. Climate change gets a lot of press, as it should. But urbanization is the largest culprit. As we increasingly cluster together into small spaces, the tragedy becomes that much worse whenever a disaster does strike. And since economic, as well as personal, reasons mean that we tend to gather on the coastlines, it is no surprise that more than 60% of the world’s urban population is at risk.

(h/t Risk Market News)

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Jared Wade is a freelance writer and former editor of the Risk Management Monitor and senior editor of Risk Management magazine. You can find more of his writing at JaredWade.com.

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