- More and more people are being caught up in a growing
number of natural disasters, a UN agency said on Friday.
- The International Strategy for Disaster Reduction said
the increase in numbers vulnerable to natural shocks was due partly to
- It said 254 million people were affected by natural
last year - nearly three times as many as in 1990.
- The assessment comes as the Caribbean and the US are
being hit by a series of devastating hurricanes.
- Drawn to danger zones
- Events including earthquakes and volcanoes, floods and
droughts, storms, fires and landslides killed about 83,000 people in 2003,
up from about 53,000 deaths 13 years earlier, the ISDR said.
- Releasing its statistics jointly with the Centre for
Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (Cred) at the University of
in Belgium, it said there was a consistent trend over the last decade of
an increasing number of people affected by disasters.
- There were 337 natural disasters reported in 2003, up
from 261 in 1990.
- "Not only is the world globally facing more
disasters but increasing numbers of people are becoming vulnerable to
the ISDR said.
- The problems, it said, are exacerbated because more and
more people are living in concentrated urban areas and in slums with poor
building standards and a lack of facilities.
- ISDR director Salvano Briceno added that urban migrants
tended to settle on exposed stretches of land either on seismic faults,
flooding plains or on landslide-prone slopes.
- "The urban concentration, the effects of climate
change and the environmental degradation are greatly increasing
- "Alarmingly, this is getting worse."
- © BBC MMIV