Select Committee on International Development Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Tearfund

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

  Tearfund welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the International Development Committee's enquiry on climate change and sustainable development.

  Section 1: Introduction to Tearfund

  Section 2: The adverse effects of global climate change—extreme weather events

  As a relief and development organisation we are particularly concerned about the link between global climate change and the increasing number and ferocity of extreme weather events, and the implications such events have for sustainable development. The IPCC predicts that the incidence of floods and droughts will increase with intensified global warming. These disasters affect life, health and livelihoods and in so doing set back development by decades.

  Section 3: The extent to which the poor are susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change

  The poor are the most susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change in the form of extreme weather events; they frequently live on marginal, vulnerable land which lacks the infrastructure needed to cope with the impact of floods and droughts. They are also generally less well informed and prepared for disasters, and their livelihoods are often destroyed with the land. Thus disasters both expose and widen the gap between rich and poor.

  Section 4: How the adverse effects of global climate change can be mitigated

  Disaster mitigation and preparedness (DMP) programmes prove effective in reducing the vulnerability of the poor to disasters.

  Section 5: Funding adaptation to global climate change has a substantial role in mitigating its adverse effects

  DMP remains a low priority in national and international funding policy. However, the cost of investing in DMP compared to the cost of post-disaster recovery is low.

  Section 6: The presence or absence of national or local coping strategies

  Developing countries frequently do not have local or national capacity to cope with climate change in the form of extreme weather events: DMP is often a low priority in national disaster management strategies. Post-disaster reconstruction is given greater attention than DMP and reconstruction plans frequently ignore vulnerability issues. Local government has a greater capacity to undertake DMP than central government, but often lacks resources.

  Section 7: The extent to which the links between poverty and the environment are included in PRSPs

  Tearfund's partners in Central America reveal that national PRSPs lack sufficient focus on DMP. Without this focus, PRSPs cannot be sustainable.

  Section 8: Identification of countries or vulnerable situations that are a priority for adaptation

  Tearfund has undertaken a disaster risk assessment project and has identified the 20 countries most vulnerable to natural hazard related disasters. This information is used to identify those countries where a greater focus on DMP is most urgently needed.

Recommendations:

    —  Greater attention must be paid to the link between climate change and disasters and the implications these have for sustainable development (including health implications).

    —  If International Development Targets are to be met, disaster mitigation and preparedness must be awarded a higher priority in overseas aid programmes.

    —  DMP must gain a higher political profile, including being raised and discussed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development 2002.

    —  Donor governments must allocate more resources for DMP programmes in disaster prone countries, and place a greater emphasis on building their capacity to prepare for floods and droughts.

    —  Donor governments should raise developing country awareness of the need to address vulnerability issues in any poverty reduction strategy.

1.  INTRODUCTION

  Tearfund is a UK Christian relief and development organisation, working with over 400 partner groups in 90 countries to tackle the causes and effects of poverty. We value our relationship with partners and believe that partnership is the route through which we can most effectively assist the poor.

  Tearfund has considerable experience in disaster management including preparedness and mitigation (DMP). Our disaster management over the last five years has been focused on relief and rehabilitation through our partners and Disaster Response Team (DRT).[1] The DRT has been operational for seven years, and has responded to disasters in Afghanistan, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zaire. It is currently operating in Burundi, Sierra Leone, southern Sudan and Serbia. As a result of the increasing frequency of climate related disasters in developing countries, the DRT has broadened its mandate to include a response to these. Tearfund also responds to climate related disasters through its regional teams and partners. These have included the Orissa cyclone, flooding in Bangladesh, Hurricane Mitch, and the long-term drought in Afghanistan for which Tearfund launched an appeal before the war on terrorism began.

  Tearfund's experience in DMP has included the running of training of trainers workshops, and community based DMP programmes in collaboration with the Oxford Centre for Disaster Studies, the EU and DFID. The Tearfund-initiated "Training of Trainers in Disaster Management" manual has had wide distribution to partners, governments and NGOs. Following Hurricane Mitch Tearfund launched a new disaster preparedness and mitigation policy, and committed itself to integrating DMP into all its disaster management work. It also undertook a risk assessment project to identify the 20 countries most at risk from both conflict and natural hazard related disasters. This data is used to identify countries where a greater focus on DMP is required.

2.  ADVERSE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

2.1.  Extreme weather events:

  Tearfund is very aware of the seriousness of global climate change and the implications it has for sustainable development. We are particularly concerned about the links between global warming and extreme weather events. We acknowledge that climate change is not necessarily responsible for all extreme events, but recognise the connections between them. The links between global warming and the severe flooding experienced by Mozambique in 2000, for example, are documented in the 2001 Christie and Hanlon report (which Tearfund helped to fund), Mozambique and the Great Flood of 2000. We are deeply concerned about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) predictions that the global incidence and severity of floods and droughts is likely to increase with intensified warming.[2] We have already observed a steadily rising number of storms, floods and droughts in the countries our partners work in, and have witnessed their effect on the poor in terms of loss of life and livelihoods. Our regional teams and partners are frequently frustrated by the way in which their on-going development work is affected by major climate related disasters.

2.2  The effect of extreme events:

  Climate related disasters have implications for life, livelihoods, the environment, and infrastructure.

  Following Hurricane Mitch which struck Central America in 1998, Tearfund provided emergency support in the form of grants to 21 partners located in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Our partners informed us of the devastation caused throughout Central America by floods and mudslides. The impact of Mitch was particularly devastating to Honduras, with the loss of thousands of lives, 70 per cent of the country's roads and bridges destroyed, and the main pillar of the economy—the agricultural sector—almost wiped out. Tearfund's partner MOPAWI, which has been working in the Mosquitia region of Honduras since 1985, wrote the following assessment following the disaster:

  "Amongst the damages reported to date, the most prevalent include environmental damage: contamination of rivers, lagoons and drinking water, fallen trees along riverbanks caused by erosion, natural barriers destroyed, change of the river's natural course, and damage to local fauna. Significant damage has also been noted to local agricultural production: the majority of the crops were destroyed, including rice, beans, corn, plantains and bananas, root crops, cacao and citrus fruit. Damage to housing and local infrastructure includes damaged and destroyed homes, health centres, schools, roads, small bridges and boats".

  Tearfund partner Project Global Village (PAG) also reported:

  "The force and volume of water destroyed mini and major watersheds; community water supplies were severely damaged or completely destroyed".

  A similar situation to that of Honduras was reported by Tearfund partner HEED in Bangladesh after the severe flooding there in 1998. HEED made the following observations:

  "The exceptional floods have left many thousands of families displaced from their homes and without access to basic essentials for survival. The rapid rise of the flood waters has caused much damage in housing, food stocks, water supplies, growing crops, livestock and small businesses.

  After the flood, it is not possible for rural agricultural workers to find any employment and their families will suffer extreme hardship having lost much, if not all, their basic supplies . . . In addition many people have lost their means of generating income which further restricts their recovery and causes breakdown in the local economy."

  We are very concerned about these adverse effects of climate related disasters. We are particularly concerned about loss of livelihoods. We acknowledge the seriousness of loss of life through sudden death, but also recognise the slow death that loss of livelihoods causes by sending the poor even deeper into poverty and vulnerability. Extreme weather events, through damaging and destroying livelihoods (whether directly or indirectly through creating unemployment), can set back development by decades. Unless sufficient attention is paid to the impact of climate related disasters on livelihoods (and to economic recovery as a disaster response component) development will not be sustainable.

Recommendations:

    —  Greater attention must be paid by governments, International Financial Institutions, corporations and businesses to the links between climate change and extreme weather events.

    —  Greater attention must be paid by donor governments to the implications that climate related disasters have for development, particularly loss of livelihoods. The on-going threat of hydrological extremes must be taken into account in all development initiatives with vulnerable countries.

    —  DFID should fulfil its promise to, as it stated in chapter five, section G of Achieving Sustainability: poverty elimination and the environment, "look at the effects of environmental disasters on long-term development plans".

2.3  Health

  Tearfund are aware that climate change and climate related disasters have implications for human health. We are concerned about the predicted direct impact of climate change on health as documented by the IPCC, which includes a rise in heat and cold related illnesses and deaths and an increase in infectious and parasitic diseases such as cholera, malaria, dengue, and Chagas disease.[3] We have witnessed the indirect impact of climate change on health through responding to floods in Central America. Following Hurricane Mitch, our partner MOPAWI in Honduras informed us:

  "With respect to water and sanitation, the flooding has contaminated most wells, and sources of water are not available or insufficient, resulting in extremely poor sanitary conditions . . ." "An alarming incidence of illnesses such as diarrhoea, dysentery, skin diseases, conjunctivitis, and respiratory infections has been reported in the Mosquitia and . . . epidemics of malaria, cholera and Chagas disease have been reported in other regions of Honduras".

Recommendations:

    —  With global warming and climate related disasters predicted to increase, we recommend that further research into the health implications of climate change is undertaken.

    —  Support to developing countries' health sectors should include assistance to plan for the health implications of climate change.

3.  THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE POOR ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

  There is statistical evidence that the poor are more susceptible to the effects of climate change in the form of extreme weather events.[4] We perceive this fact to be the result of the link between poverty and vulnerability: poor communities are frequently forced to live on marginal land which is vulnerable to extreme weather events and where they lack the infrastructure to deal with them. Our partners in Central America responding to Hurricane Mitch observed the disparity between the ability of the poor and the rich to protect themselves from the flooding and mudslides that accompanied the hurricane. They reported that the poor were most seriously affected as they were living in high-risk areas such as hill slopes and river banks: many families living in these areas lost both homes and sources of income. The network of Honduran Civil Society Organisations INTERFOROS, with which Tearfund partners are linked, made the following statement in reference to Honduran communities living in areas exposed to extreme weather events:

  ". . . the hazardous situation of the people living in those areas is obvious, they usually lack the resources and means to flee from their condition of marginality and risk. The communities where several social organisations have sustained a local development strategy have somehow escaped from this critical situation."

  The poor were also disadvantaged through not being adequately forewarned of the hurricane, and having no means of escape. Communities living in rural areas such as La Mosquitia received little or no information and had no means of evacuation. Tearfund personnel living in this area at the time wrote:

  "Communications with the outside world are very poor, there exists no emergency procedures and the local Miskito people have no organised system to deal with such situations. It is not the place to be in the event of a hurricane".

  These statements reveal the link between low human development and vulnerability. Tearfund partner KOINONIA, based in Bangladesh, also observe this link. Following the floods of 1998 KOINONIA undertook a programme of emergency aid in rural areas. They informed us that the poor were most severely affected by this disaster, particularly in the Gopalgani district where flooding had prevented them from cultivating the land they depended upon:

  "The huge area of submerged low land (in the Gopalgani district) is surrounded by four unions namely Kajalia, Kalabari, Kushala and Radhaganj. The locality is mainly inhabited by the most disadvantaged and underprivileged farming and fishermen community, day labours, poor landless and share cropper, marginal and small farmers. The mainstay of the local people is agricultural work. But for want of a proper drainage system agricultural work cannot be carried out by the poor rural farmers successfully. The fierce flood of the last year has destroyed even the last remaining grains of crops of some of the higher grounds".

  In view of the link between low human development and vulnerability, it is of great concern to us that developing country governments frequently do not have the resources or capacity to look beyond the reconstruction stage after a disaster has occurred to reduce the vulnerability of the poor through economic development or even disaster preparedness. An associate of Tearfund based in Honduras made the following observation with reference to the capacity of the Honduran government following Hurricane Mitch:

  "The Central government . . . has not had sufficient capacity to attend, in a reasonable manner, the demands of the organisations and citizens that have come before it looking for support to overcome their problems provoked by Mitch".

  "The Master Plan for National Reconstruction and Transformation (PMRTN) has not become a concerted plan . . . it is lacking the legal, material and human resources needed to surpass its merely physical perspective of reconstruction . . ."

  Where a government cannot respond to its citizens' needs through adequate rehabilitation and development, the poor remain poor and vulnerable. When disaster strikes and destroys livelihoods, inequality of socio-economic conditions is aggravated even further. Thus disasters both expose and widen the gap between rich and poor.

Recommendations:

    —  If International Development Targets are to be met, disaster preparedness and mitigation must be awarded a much higher priority in overseas aid programmes, especially for the most vulnerable regions and countries.

    —  DMP needs to gain a higher political profile.

    —  We urge the British Government to ensure that the issue of DMP is raised and discussed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in August 2002.

4.  HOW THE ADVERSE EFFECTS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE CAN BE MITIGATED

  Major hurricanes and floods attract instant media interest and rapid humanitarian response, but it is not enough to support immediate crises through relief activities without enabling communities to prepare for and mitigate against the effects of future disasters. Thousands of lives could be saved each year in developing countries if more emphasis was placed by governments on preparing vulnerable communities for extreme weather events. A large range of preparedness and mitigation measures are possible, many of them relatively cheap and simple to implement. They cover areas such as building location and construction, emergency shelters, food production and storage systems, reforestation and the establishment of early warning systems and evacuation routes. Where communities have undertaken preparedness and mitigation measures, the effect of the disaster has often been significantly reduced.

Bangladesh

  An estimated 8-10 million people live within the high risk coastal areas of Bangladesh. A Tearfund consultant undertook an evaluation of cyclone shelters there in July 2000 and made the following general observation on the effectiveness of shelters:

  In 1970 a cyclone with a storm surge of 25-30 ft high hit the coast of the Bay of Bengal. The storm surge raced inland at a speed of 150 mph, killing over 300,000 people. Since this disaster, various plans to mitigate the effects of cyclones in high risk areas by erecting cyclone shelters have proved effective in reducing loss of life. The cyclone of 1991 was of similar size to that of 1970, yet loss of life, partly on account of these shelters, was reduced to 140,000. Local inhabitants on the coastline south of Chittagong pointed out that while over 21,000 people had lost their lives locally, those who made it to the multi-purpose cyclone shelter were all saved.

India

  Another of Tearfund's partners NEICORD, based in North East India, has undertaken disaster preparedness and mitigation activities in the Brahmaputra Valley. Rainfall in the region is heavy and floods are frequent. Among its activities NEICORD has promoted and observed the effectiveness of early rice growing as a food security measure for times of flood. The system is being adopted by communities in the region living near NEICORD's project sites which have recognised its benefits.

  Recognising that disaster preparedness and mitigation saves lives, Tearfund and its partner agencies around the world have identified DMP as an indispensable tool to tackle suffering and poverty.

5.  FUNDING ADAPTATION TO CLIMATE CHANGE HAS A SUBSTANTIAL ROLE IN MITIGATING ITS ADVERSE EFFECTS

  Tearfund is concerned about the fact that disaster mitigation and preparedness has traditionally been a backwater of international funding policy, with DMP being a low priority in overseas development assistance. Moreover, DMP remains a low priority in domestic disaster management strategies; where developing country governments have funded relief and reconstruction programmes, funding has often not stretched to DMP programmes. Through discussions held by Tearfund with representatives of the governments o f Nicaragua and Honduras in September 2001, it became clear that DMP was low on the list of priorities for disaster management spending.

  We have not only observed that DMP proves effective in reducing loss of life and livelihoods, but we also believe that the cost of investing in DMP compared with the costs incurred by relief and reconstruction post-disasters is very low. The World Bank and the US Geological Survey have calculated that economic losses worldwide from natural disasters could be reduced by 280 billion US dollars by investing around a seventh of that sum in disaster preparedness (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies World Disasters Report 2001).

Recommendations:

    —  The UK government should increase its official development assistance to 0.7 per cent of GNP within a specified period.

    —  Donor governments and NGOs must allocate more resources for assisting disaster prone countries develop DMP strategies and implement community DMP programmes.

6.  THE PRESENCE OR ABSENCE OF NATIONAL OR LOCAL COPING STRATEGIES

  The ability of developing countries to cope with the effects of climate change in the form of climate related disasters is frequently reduced by their lack of national and local strategies for disaster mitigation and preparedness.

Nicaragua:

  Tearfund held discussions in September 2001 with partner organisations working on community DMP in Nicaragua; they revealed that DMP is a low priority on the national governmental agenda. Many of our partners and associates expressed concern over their government's failure to adequately address the need to engage in DMP, including its failure to implement its own disaster management law which was introduced in March 2000. A recent survey conducted by the NGO "Civil Co-ordination for Emergency and Reconstruction" (CCER) revealed that 83 per cent of high-risk communities in Nicaragua still feel unprepared for disasters.

Honduras:

  A similar situation is repeated in Honduras. An umbrella association of NGOs based there informed us that the national government's focus is on disaster reconstruction rather than preparedness and mitigation and its reconstruction plans tend to ignore issues of vulnerability. The association have been lobbying the Honduran government for the implementation of its DMP law, but have yet to see success. Several of Tearfund's partners in Honduras are involved in a disaster mitigation network "La Red de Mitigacion". A representative of the network informed us that Honduras suffers from a lack of environmental and disaster mitigation consciousness.

  In both Nicaragua and Honduras Tearfund were informed by partners that where the governments do engage with DMP it is generally on the municipal level, and it is on this level that co-operation and co-ordination between government, NGOs and civil society groups tends to happen (on a limited basis). Our partners observed that local government frequently has more capacity to respond to disasters than central government, being more accessible and accountable to citizens, more knowledgeable of their needs, and better placed to fulfil them. However, all of our partners in Nicaragua and Honduras informed us that while local level government has a higher capacity to engage in DMP, it is severely restrained by a lack of funding.

Haiti:

  Tearfund's consultant in Haiti informed us that Haiti regularly and frequently suffers the effects of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and droughts. While the Haitian government responds to these events with (limited) relief interventions, it has no policy or budget for preparedness and mitigation programmes. National preparedness for hurricanes and floods is non-existent: there is no hurricane warning system, and no procedures for evacuation. There is a lack of general knowledge about disaster preparedness, with nothing established in the education system to inform children. The average citizen will not be aware of an imminent hurricane or flood and will not know what to do when it strikes. In the consultant's own words, "when it (disaster) happens, it happens. Hurricanes come: people die".

  It became apparent through our discussions with partners and their associates in Central America that lack of emphasis on DMP extends beyond national boundaries. Where Central American countries have received external assistance post Mitch, this has frequently ignored issues of vulnerability. A long-established association of civil society organisations in Central America made the following statement:

  "Most of the external co-operation, which has increased since Mitch, has been frequently invested in works of physical reconstruction and assistance programs with dubious efficacy and sustainability". . . "The vulnerability of the geographical regions more affected by Mitch or exposed to destructive natural phenomena still persists".

Recommendations:

    —  Donor governments should place a greater emphasis on building the capacity of governments and communities in disaster prone countries to prepare for and respond to storms, floods and droughts. We urge DFID to implement its priority of building developing country capacity to prepare for disasters (chapter five, section 5.15 of Achieving Sustainability: poverty elimination and the environment).

    —  There should be a particular focus on providing adequate resources for local government to implement and maintain local level DMP plans within a coherent national strategy.

    —  A participatory approach to long-term flood and drought management in developing countries should be encouraged, in which local communities, NGOs, local and central government communicate and collaborate together.

    —  Issues of vulnerability to future disasters must be considered in all external post-disaster assistance.

7.  THE EXTENT TO WHICH THE LINKS BETWEEN POVERTY AND THE ENVIRONMENT ARE INCLUDED IN PRSPS

  Through recent consultations with Tearfund partners working in disaster preparedness and mitigation in Nicaragua and Honduras, it became apparent that DMP is not given sufficient focus in national Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). (The World Bank/IMF require low-income countries to produce a PRSP in order to achieve a link between debt relief and poverty reduction).

Nicaragua:

  We were informed by our associate CCER (Civil Co-ordination for Emergency and Reconstruction), that DMP was not included in Nicaragua's PRSP. This information was confirmed by the Humboldt Centre (Centre of Development and Environment in Nicaragua). We also consulted the executive secretary of the government department responsible for disasters ("National System for Prevention, Mitigation and Attention to Disasters") who agreed that the country's PRSP lacked attention to DMP. He also observed a need for a general increase in prevention awareness in Nicaragua.

Honduras:

  We consulted the association of NGOs ASONOG with which Tearfund partners are involved and which works closely with the national government department for disasters (COPECO). ASONOG informed us that the PRSP for Honduras lacked sufficient attention to the links between poverty and the environment, and excluded disaster preparedness and mitigation. Tearfund partner PAG (Project Global Village) which educates communities in disaster preparedness and mitigation confirmed the lack of DMP within the country's PRSP.

  All of Tearfund's partners collaborating with the governments of Honduras and Nicaragua recognise the importance of the inclusion of DMP within PRSPs. Our partners are concerned that without sufficient attention to the design and implementation of a national disaster preparedness strategy, PRSPs will not be sustainable.

  Finally, the question of national government capacity to implement PRSPs once formulated was also raised. The following observation was made by ASONOG:

  "It seems that even for government units and programmes there is not a clear understanding on how the PRSP and the reduction of vulnerability is going to be implemented".

Recommendations:

    —  Donor governments must place a higher priority on raising developing country awareness of the need to address issues of vulnerability in any poverty reduction strategy.

8.  IDENTIFICATION OF COUNTRIES OR VULNERABLE SITUATIONS THAT ARE A PRIORITY FOR ADAPTATION

  Tearfund's Disaster Response Team have undertaken a study to identify the countries most at risk from conflict and natural hazard related disasters. The list of 20 countries most at risk from natural hazard related disasters has been produced according to annual average number of people killed and affected by such disasters between 1990 and 1998, size of population and levels of social vulnerability. Please see the attachment that accompanies this paper for the results of the study (Annex 1).

  The following statistics were used to produce the "top 20" countries:

ANNUAL AVERAGE KILLED BY NATURAL HAZARDS 1990-98

Bangladesh
16,954
India
5,536
China
3,694
Nigeria
1,753
Philippines
1,664
Peru
1,402
Afghanistan
1,363
Vietnam
1,077
Indonesia
1,039
Pakistan
936
Nepal
785
Burkina Faso
714
Honduras
686
Niger
633
Russia
545
Tanzania
542
Sudan
481
Haiti
446
Mexico
440


ANNUAL AVERAGE AFFECTED BY NATURAL HAZARDS 1990-98

China
117,363,000
India
27,500,000
Bangladesh
14,571,000
Philippines
5,257,000
Pakistan
2,693,000
Thailand
1,753,000
Malawi
1,663,000
Kenya
1,414,000
Ethiopia
1,386,000
Vietnam
1,289,000
Brazil
1,194,000
Sudan
1,160,000
Zimbabwe
1,129,000
North Korea
1,004,000
Tanzania
873,000
Mozambique
817,000
Indonesia
693,000
Peru
527,000
Burma
515,000
Argentina
515,000


ANNUAL AVERAGE KILLED BY NATURAL HAZARDS AS PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION

  
Population
Annual Av Killed 1990-98
Killed as % Population
Bangladesh
127,118,000
16,954
0.013
Honduras
5,997,000
686
0.011
Guinea-Bissau
1,235,000
136
0.011
Iran
65,180,000
4,516
0.007
Papua New Guinea
4,705,000
313
0.007
Haiti
6,884,000
446
0.006
Nicaragua
4,717,000
301
0.006
Niger
9,962,000
633
0.006
Burkina Faso
11,576,000
714
0.006
Somalia
7,141,000
404
0.006
Afghanistan
25,825,000
1,363
0.005
Peru
26,625,000
1,402
0.005
Comoros
563,000
27
0.005
Tajikistan
6,103,000
227
0.004
Nepal
22,021,000
785
0.004
Zambia
9,664,000
290
0.003
El Salvador
5,839,000
172
0.003
Congo
2,717,000
68
0.003
Chad
7,557,000
159
0.002
Philippines
79,346,000
1,664
0.002


ANNUAL AVERAGE AFFECTED BY NATURAL HAZARDS AS PERCENTAGE OF POPULATION

  
Population
Annual Av Affected 1990-98
Affected as % Population
Malawi
10,000,000
1,663,000
16.630
Guyana
705,000
89,000
12.624
Bangladesh
127,118,000
14,571,000
11.463
Zimbabwe
11,163,000
1,129,000
10.114
China
1,246,872,000
117,363,000
9.413
Philippines
79,346,000
5,257,000
6.625
Dominican Republic
8,130,000
506,000
6.224
Swaziland
985,000
59,000
5.990
Fiji
813,000
48,000
5.904
Zambia
9,664,000
478,000
4.946
Kenya
28,809,000
1,414,000
4.908
North Korea
21,386,000
1,004,000
4.695
Honduras
5,997,000
278,000
4.636
Nicaragua
4,717,000
212,000
4.494
Mozambique
19,124,000
817,000
4.272
Papua New Guinea
4,705,000
177,000
3.762
Sudan
34,476,000
1,160,000
3.365
Thailand
60,609,000
1,753,000
2.892
Tanzania
31,271,000
873,000
2.792
Namibia
1,648,000
46,000
2.791


  The following country specific observations were made in a consultancy report drawn up for Tearfund's Asia team:

Bangladesh:

  Bangladesh has the highest average numbers killed by climate related disasters in the world. Increasing river floods and land erosion are displacing millions a year, and there is a future severe threat to 11 of 130 million living in coastal areas as a result of sea-level rise. Government and agencies are experienced in disaster preparedness and response but less so in mitigation.

India:

  India has the second highest number of people killed and affected by environmental disasters in the world. It is under high threat of cyclones, floods and increasing El Nino related droughts and sea-level rise. The national government presently lacks the capacity and resources for disaster response, preparedness and mitigation.

Philippines:

  The Philippines is the most disaster prone country in the world, with a very high frequency of cyclones and floods, an increasing frequency of El Nino related drought, and prone to earthquakes and volcanoes. The government is well organised and prepared for disaster response but less so for disaster mitigation.

Recommendations:

  Tearfund recommends that aid interventions and capacity building programmes are focused on those countries where frequency and severity of disasters is highest and national coping capacity is low.

Tearfund

January 2002


1   Tearfund is a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee. Back

2   Report of IPCC Working Group 2, "Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability". Back

3   IPCC report, "The Regional Impacts of Climate Change" Chapter 6: Latin America. Back

4   According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies "World Disasters Report 2001", on average 22.5 people die per reported disaster in highly developed nations, 145 die per disaster in nations of medium human development, and each disaster in countries of low human development claims an average of 1,052 people. Back


 
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