Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rough seas in Kanyakumari district

China and India face extreme risk from disasters

Original from::

Bangladeshis are most threatened by cyclones, people in China, Colombia, India, Indonesia and Myanmar are at the highest risk of dying from earthquakes, and Indians are most in danger from floods, a UN report says.

People in China and India are among those with an "extreme" risk of dying in a natural disaster, the United Nations said in a report Monday.

The global body also cited Bangladesh, Colombia, Indonesia and Myanmar as the countries facing the greatest threat of massive deaths from disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and landslides.

"Natural disasters are there and we cannot stop them," said Senator Loren Lagarda of the Philippines, who was among those presenting the UN's "Mortality Risk Index" in Geneva.

However, she said developing countries around the world need to improve their disaster planning to better prepare for disasters. Rich countries should help, as their industrialization has led to climate change that is exacerbating the effects of storms and other weather events, Lagarda said.

The index tables the world's countries according to a set of factors that include the prevalence of natural disasters, infrastructure for dealing with them and their level of preparedness. Two scales are used: one that places countries according to the absolute number of deaths likely to occur from disasters, and another based on the relative death rate.

Bangladeshis were seen as most threatened by cyclones. People in China, Colombia, India, Indonesia and Myanmar were at the highest risk of dying from earthquakes. Indians were most in danger from floods.

The report said Bangladesh, China, India and Indonesia were in the "extreme" category for average numbers of citizens at risk.

The UN will present the report Tuesday at a global disaster conference in Geneva attended by 1,800 government and risk reduction experts from around the world.

It found that Bahrain and a number of Gulf states face a very low risk of death from disasters. Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Latvia were also among "the safest places on earth from sudden" disasters.

The United States was among the countries where people faced a "medium high" risk. The biggest danger cited was that posed by earthquakes.