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Thirteen of the 15 countries most vulnerable to natural hazard are in Africa

Thirteen of the 15 countries most vulnerable to natural hazard are in Africa

Environmental protection

Countries most at risk of disaster are Pacific islands, Southeast Asian nations and Central American states, researchers said on Thursday.

The World Risk Index 2016 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 a report.

Weak infrastructure can leave countries less able to keep their populations safe, they said, citing the Solomon Islands (ranked 6), Papua New Guinea (ranked 10) and Guinea-Bissau (ranked 15) which are also strongly exposed to hazards.

World Risk Index 2016

Poverty, slum housing, limited access to medical services and clean water, corruption and weak law enforcement are factors that make people more vulnerable to disasters.

Here are some facts from the index and accompanying World Risk Report, produced by the United Nations University, the University of Stuttgart and Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, an alliance of German aid agencies:

  • Vanuatu is the country with the highest disaster risk, followed by Tonga, Philippines, Guatemala and Bangladesh.
  • The five countries with the lowest disaster risk are Qatar, Malta, Saudi Arabia, Barbados and Grenada.
  • 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.

The top 100 vulnerable countries worldwide:
1. Vanuatu
2. Tonga
3. Philippines
4. Guatemala
5. Bangladesh 19.17
6. Solomon Islands
7. Brunei Darussalam
8. Costa Rica
9. Cambodia
10. Papua New Guinea
11. El Salvador
12. Timor-Leste
13. Mauritius
14. Nicaragua
15. Guinea-Bissau
16. Fiji
17. Japan
18. Viet Nam
19. Gambia
20. Jamaica
21. Haiti
22. Chile
23. Benin
24. Guyana
25. Niger
26. Madagascar
27. Dominican Republic
28. Cameroon
29. Chad
30. Honduras
31. Cape Verde
32. Senegal
33. Togo
34. Djibouti
35. Burundi
36. Indonesia
37. Sierra Leone
38. Zimbabwe
39. Burkina Faso
40. Albania
41. Afghanistan
42. Myanmar
43. Cote d’Ivoire
44. Mozambique
45. Uzbekistan
46. Suriname
47. Ghana
48. Mali
49. Netherlands
50. Guinea
51. Sudan
52. Nigeria
53. Malawi
54. Mauritania
55. Kyrgyzstan
56. Liberia
57. United Republic of Tanzania
58. Ecuador
59. Swaziland
60. Bhutan
61. Trinidad and Tobago
62. Algeria
63. Sri Lanka
64. Comoros
65. Panama
66. Zambia
67. Congo
68. Serbia
69. Rwanda
70. Ethiopia
71. Central African Republic
72. Pakistan
73. Lesotho
74. Kenya
75. Tajikistan
76. Greece
77. India
78. Peru
79. Belize
80. Uganda
81. Angola
82. Morocco
83. Colombia
84. Turkmenistan
85. China
86. Malaysia
87. Eritrea
88. Georgia
89. Thailand
90. Cuba
91. Bosnia and Herzegovina
92. Armenia
93. Gabon
94. Yemen
95. Mexico
96. Venezuela
97. Romania
98. Republic of Macedonia
99. Syrian Arab Republic
100. Lao People’s Democ. Republic