Natural disasters in South Asia

Author name: 
Raghav Gaiha
Kenneth Hill
Ganesh Thapa

Various types of natural disasters (e.g. extreme temperatures and floods) became more frequent in 1998-09, relative to 1985-97. However, the deadliness of earthquakes rose sharply and of extreme temperatures more than moderately while that of most others (droughts, floods, storms and wildfires) declined. While developing countries bear the brunt of disasters, ironically these are also the countries which have made fewer efforts to adapt their physical environments to mitigate the impact of such disasters and to insure themselves against disaster risks. If interventions do not go beyond short-term relief and shy away from rebuilding of livelihoods and reconstruction from a longer-term perspective, communities/regions highly vulnerable to natural hazards (e.g. low lying coastal areas are highly vulnerable to floods) are likely to fare worse with recurrent catastrophes. While our evidence points to growing vulnerability to natural disasters and their grave implications for human security, a challenge for development assistance is to combine speedy relief with durable reduction in vulnerability. If our analysis has any validity, there are indeed some grounds for optimism.

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Updated:  10 December 2023/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team