Monday, May 16, 2011

Losses from Natural Disasters Outpacing Creation of Wealth

In the world's wealthiest (OECD) countries, losses from flooding have shot up 160% over the past 30-years.   Losses from tropical cyclones have swollen by 262% over the same period.

"The risk of losing wealth in disasters is actually increasing faster than that wealth is being created ," said Andrew Maskrey, coordinator of the 2011 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The report by the UN's disaster reduction unit said the damage inflicted by mainly natural disasters on housing, infrastructure and public assets such as schools and hospitals was  "soaring in many low and middle income countries ."

Maskrey suggested that the costs were growing largely because prevention or mitigation measures -- such as land planning in hazard areas or resistant housing, schools or hospitals - were failing to keep pace with faster and broader economic growth.

The report also reiterated warnings about growing pattern of extreme and destructive weather events that has been linked to climate change.
"The world's vulnerability to disaster risks is growing faster than our ability to increase resilience ," he warned.

Of course in Canada we're immune to all this or at least you could easily get that impression judging from the indifference of all of our political leadership.   And it's not as though anyone expects them to reinvent the wheel either.   The Brits have provided a very good blueprint for climate change remediation and adaptation initiatives.   Unfortunately with Parliament packed to the rafters with Petro-Pols, Canadians are pretty much left to our own devices.

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