When an extreme environmental hazard strikes, infrastructure can be a deciding factor in whether or not the situation becomes a disaster. Roads, for example, can provide access to quickly supply relief aid to affected communities; but if roads are destroyed, entire regions can be cut off from support.
The World Risk Report 2016, published on 25 August by UNU-EHS and Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft, analyses the role that infrastructure plays in shaping a country’s disaster risk. The World Risk Index, calculated by the University of Stuttgart, is an integral part of the report as it ranks 171 countries according to their risk of becoming a victim of a disaster as a result of natural hazards such as floods, cyclones, or earthquakes.
Dr. Matthias Garschagen, Scientific Director of the World Risk Report, states:
“We need to look at both the opportunities and risks of critical infrastructure,” “Sufficient and well-built infrastructure, such as high quality power and transportation networks, can limit the impacts that natural hazards can cause both in terms of loss of life and economic damage. At the same time, the breakdown of nodal points in infrastructure, such as airports or power plants, can also cause impacts that reach far beyond the actual extent of the hazard. The international community must increase investments into critical infrastructure before disaster strikes. We currently focus too much on short-term relief after disasters, and pay too little attention to ensuring that resilient infrastructure is in place before hazards occur.” >>