Natural disasters affect millions of people each year, and cost between $60 billion and $100 billion worldwide. But which cities are most at risk?
Insurance firm Swiss Re has an answer in its report "Mind the Risk," published this month. The firm studied 616 metropolitan areas at risk of five types of natural disasters -- earthquakes, floods, storms, storm surges, and tsunamis -- and then ranked the top 10 based on how many people are at risk from all these disasters. It also looked at the economic impact of these disasters on cities.
The company said its research shows that it is important for city leaders to take seriously the need to invest in protective infrastructure and disaster management planning. It said that the risks are particularly great in cities that are growing fast.
Rapid growth that outpaces planning, flaws in zoning laws, and construction failures can all exacerbate the risk of natural hazards to urban communities. When an event does occur in such circumstances, it drives up the costs for disaster recovery and increases the burden on public budgets.
But which cities, specifically, are most at risk, and why? We have prepared a slideshow to answer these questions. Just click the photo below to begin:
10) Tehran, Iran - 15.6 million people at risk
The earthquake danger faced by cities in the US and east Asia are well-known, but there are also big risks in parts of the Middle East because of the Northern Anatolian fault line. There are 13.6 million people potentially at risk if an earthquake hits Iranian capital Tehran -- which is home to the Azadi Tower (above) -- and this puts the city number six in Swiss Re's top ten if urban areas were ranked only by earthquake risk. A further 2 million people in the city are at risk of river flooding, making the city No. 10 in terms of overall risk.
(Source: Christiaan Triebert via Flickr)
— Rich Heap, Community Editor, UBM's Future Cities