Not long ago, Tourism Review presented the most dangerous countries to travel to with regards to man-made issues, such as terror attacks, high crime rates, political situations etc. However, it is equally as important to judge a travel destination based on the risk of natural disasters, as it has a direct influence on the safety and security of each individual traveler.
German company Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft has published the World Risk Report for six years. The index includes data from 171 countries. The researchers analyzed not only how often countries are statistically hit by natural disasters, but also how well prepared they are.
“Disaster risks are unevenly distributed, affecting mainly island and low and middle-income countries in Oceania, Asia and Central America,” the researchers write in the report.
The factor of infrastructure is, therefore, particularly decisive. For only if there are enough roads and airports, for example, can people quickly get to safety and rescue teams reach the crisis areas. A stable power grid, clean drinking water and sufficient hospitals and doctors will save lives in the event of natural disasters.
Even rich countries affected
Even in rich countries like the USA, there can be disaster, such as the hurricane “Sandy” in 2012. At that time, power grid collapsed, and rescue work was particularly difficult.
Also, the unusual drought this summer in Europe illustrates, according to the researchers, the differences between countries. While, for example, there were considerable harvest losses in Germany, it did not result in a major catastrophe, because Europe was capable to offset the losses. In drought regions such as the Horn of Africa or the Sahel, the consequences would have been much more serious.
Regions particularly vulnerable
At the top of the list of vulnerable areas are the Pacific Islands: Vanuatu and Tonga. This means that there is the highest risk of getting deceased in a natural disaster. The region is particularly threatened by earthquakes, tsunamis and storms. The Philippines are also affected, as people have to reckon with volcanic eruptions and landslides. Central America, West and Central Africa and Southeast Asia are also risky travel destinations.
It may come as a surprise to many, but Qatar is considered the safest in the index. The desert state is much less affected by extreme natural events than other countries. The least vulnerable regions include Malta and Saudi Arabia.
More natural disasters and children affected
Just recently, a UN report showed that the number of natural disasters has increased rapidly. Between 1997 and 2017, 1.3 million people worldwide died as a result. 4.4 billion suffered injuries or lost their livelihood. The researchers of the World Risk Report now warn that the situation could be aggravated by global warming. According to the UN, especially the environmental catastrophes, which are influenced by climate change, have increased. These include floods, storms, heat waves, drought and forest fires.
However, the analysis also shows positive developments. As a result, people today are much better prepared for natural disasters worldwide than six years ago. However, it is still children who suffer the most. According to UNICEF, almost one in four children lives in areas affected by disasters. More than 68 million people had to leave their homes last year, more than half of them were children under the age of 18.
WorldRiskIndex 2018 - Top 20: Country/Index Value
Solomon Islands 23,29
Papua New Guinea 20.88
Brunei Darussalam 18.82
Costa Rica 16.56
East Timor 16.05
El Salvador 15.95