Mind the risk: A global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters

Natural Disasters17.9 million Kolkatans face serious risk from natural disasters and the city emerges as the world’s seventh riskiest city reveals this new analysis of natural disasters confronting 616 of the world’s largest urban areas.

For the first time in human history more people live in cities than in rural areas. The United Nations expects 6.3 billion people or 68% of the world’s population to be living in urban areas by 2050, with the highest increase occurring in high growth markets. Many of these cities are  located on the coast and are threatened by floods, storms, earthquakes and other natural hazards.

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The vibrancy of these cities is a key driver for economic development. However, the growing concentration of people, assets and infrastructure also means that the loss potential in urban areas is high and rising. At the same time the gap between economic and insured losses is large because insurance penetration is relatively low and city infrastructure often not insured at all. Another reason is that the risk exposure faced by the world’s metropolitan areas remains underexplored, largely due to the lack of detailed hazard information and poor data quality. This report seeks to address this knowledge deficit by providing a comprehensive analysis of natural disaster risk in locations around the world. Based on Swiss Re’s risk modelling expertise and the latest  hazard information from our CatNet® tool, it focuses on the most severe natural disasters confronting 616 of the world’s largest urban areas  and assesses the potential impact they have on local residents and the wider economy.

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