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HindustanTimes Mon,01 Sep 2014

India at high disaster risk over next two decades, British think tank

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, October 13, 2013
First Published: 16:46 IST(13/10/2013) | Last Updated: 16:49 IST(13/10/2013)

Among the countries most prone to natural disasters over the next two decades, India has the highest risk rating, according to a report of Overseas Development Institute, an influential British think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.

The report titled 'The Geography of Poverty, Disasters and Climate Extremes in 2030' is scheduled for release on October 16.

"There is a strong overlay between the likely incidence of hazards and poverty in 2030 in northeast India. Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal are all high poverty states in areas subject to high multi-hazard indices and all have significantly lower distaster risk management capacity than some other states," it says.

Responding to the handling of monster cyclone Phailin, one of the report's authors and ODI head of climate change Dr Tom Mitchell said: "Credit is due to those who have been involved in efforts to reduce the scale of vulnerability to disasters across India. The low loss of life, following the strongest storm ever measured in the Bay of Bengal, would almost certainly not have been possible without learning lessons from previous cyclones and tsunamis that have hit this coastline."

Dr Mitchell said disaster preparedness is also about livelihoods as well as lives.

"Over the two decades many parts of India - including Andhra Pradesh - will be increasingly exposed to disasters. The focus on how deadly disasters can be should not obscure the fact that many homes, hospitals, shops and schools will have been badly impacted in ways which will drive people into poverty," he said.

A summary of the report says that by 2030, up to 325 million extremely poor people could be living in areas most exposed to multiple hazards if dedicated action is not taken.

The report says India has the largest number of people, 126 million, living below the $1.25 a day poverty line.


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