Explain Why Economic Losses Caused by Natural Hazards Have Risen over Time Whereas the Number of Deaths Has Fallen?

448 Words2 Pages
While fewer people die each year as a result of natural hazards, these events are affecting more people than ever before. At the same time, they are taking a greater economic toll than in the past. Since 1980, the average annual economic cost of natural hazards has risen from less than $20 billion to more than $160 billion. In the same period, the number of people reported as being affected has risen from an annual average of 100 million to more than 2 00 million. Economic losses from disasters have grown exponentially, nearly tripling between1980-89 and 1990-99. This is far greater rate than the growth in the number of disasters. Insured losses have increased less dramatically than total economic losses. It is far too simple to say that developing countries suffer the greatest number of deaths and developed countries the greatest economic impact of disasters. The economic losses appear greater in richer countries because of the value of their economies and the cost of making good the damage. For example, the insurance costs of repairing a house damaged by flood in the UK may be great, but in Bangladesh it is not uncommon for people to lose their crops, houses, and all their possessions in a flood, none of which will have been insured. Many developing countries depend on cash crops or tourism for their income and both of these can be devastated by a natural disaster. Economic losses in poorer countries may be smaller in actual figures but far greater as a proportion of their annual GDP. Economic losses are increasing faster than a number of disasters, larges because of the growing economies of many recently and newly industrialised countries, especially in Asia. What is interesting about the increase in the reported number of natural disasters is the fact that there has been a decrease in the number of reported deaths due to these disasters. During the period from
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