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VANUATU ‘MOST VULNERABLE’

Qatar has the lowest disaster risk globally with
a risk percentage of 0.08.

Qatar, Saudi among countries with least disaster risk

BARCELONA, Spain, August 25, 2016

Qatar and Saudi Arabia ranked among the five countries with the lowest risk of being hit by a disaster, researchers said on Thursday.

Qatar, ranked 171st in the world, had the lowest disaster risk globally with a risk percentage(index) of 0.08, while Saudi Arabia claimed the 169th place with an index of 1.14 in the World Risk Index 2016 produced by the United Nations University, the University of Stuttgart and Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, an alliance of German aid agencies.

The report ranks 171 countries according to how exposed and vulnerable they are to natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods and storms.

A disaster occurs when an extreme natural event overwhelms people's ability to protect themselves, the researchers said in the report.

Poor economic and social factors leave countries less able to keep their populations safe, they said.

Other countries in the top five places included Malta (ranked 170, index 0.60), Barbados (ranked 168, index 1.32) and Grenada (ranked 167, index 1.42).

Within the GCC, Bahrain was placed at the 165th position with a risk percentage of 1.69, followed by the UAE (ranked 163, index 1.97).

Egypt was given a risk percentage of 2.29 with a rank of 158.

Globally, Pacific islands, Southeast Asian nations and Central American states dominate the countries at highest risk of being hit by a disaster, researchers said.

The Solomon Islands (ranked 6), Papua New Guinea (ranked 10) and Guinea-Bissau (ranked 15) are also strongly exposed to hazards.

Factors that make people more vulnerable to disasters include poverty, slum housing, limited access to medical services and clean water, corruption and weak law enforcement.

Key findings:

•    Vanuatu is the country with the highest disaster risk, followed by Tonga, Philippines, Guatemala and Bangladesh.

•    Thirteen of the 15 countries with the highest vulnerability are in Africa.

•    Countries like Liberia (ranked 56), Zambia (ranked 66) and Central African Republic (ranked 71) are quite weakly exposed to natural hazards but are very vulnerable.

•    Australia, ranked 121, shows how low vulnerability mitigates its relatively high exposure to drought, earthquakes and sea-level rise.

•    But Japan is ranked 17 because of its very high exposure, mainly to earthquakes and floods, even though it has many measures in place to protect people.

•    The global hot-spots for high disaster risk - Oceania, Southeast Asia, Central America and Africa's southern Sahel region - have not changed since the index was launched in 2011.

•    Zimbabwe was one of the biggest movers in 2016, shifting from 18th to 13th highest-risk country, mainly due to a fall in the share of its people with access to clean water and improved sanitation. – TradeArabia News Service & Thomson Reuters Foundation




Tags: Qatar | UN | Disaster risk |

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