India facing extreme risk from natural disasters

India is among 15 countries facing "extreme risk" from natural disasters in a list.

Last Updated: May 27, 2010, 00:11 AM IST

London: India is among 15 countries
facing "extreme risk" from natural disasters in a `Natural
Disasters Risk Index`, which is topped by Bangladesh.

India, which lost 141,961 lives in major natural
disasters since 1980, ranked 11th in the highest risk category
in the index released by global risks advisory firm
Maplecroft.

"India is subject to a wide variance of events and has
lost 141,961 of its population to major natural disasters
since 1980, including 50,000 to earthquakes, 40,000 to floods,
15,000 to epidemics and 23,000 to storms," the index said.

Neighbouring giant China is also on the list at 12th
position with loss of 148,417 lives, which are more than
India, but was placed at lower rank as high concentration of
these occurred during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Apart from India, Bangladesh and China, other Asian
countries rated as most vulnerable are: Pakistan, Mayanmar,
Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Iran, Afghanistan, Cambodia and the
Philippines.

The Natural Disasters Risk Index (NDRI) calculated the
risk by measuring the human impact of natural disasters, in
terms of deaths per annum and per million of population, plus
the frequency of events over the last 30 years.

"Poverty is an important factor in countries where
both the frequency and impacts of natural disasters are
severe," said Maplecroft Environmental Analyst, Dr Anna Moss.

"Poor infrastructure, plus dense overcrowding in high
risk areas like flood plains, river banks, steep slopes and
reclaimed land continually result in high casualty figures,"
she added.

According to Maplecroft`s, it is not just developing
nations that organisations need to have contingency plans for,
as three G8 member states are rated as "high risk", with
France at 17th place, Italy at 18th and the US at 37th.

-PTI