Water strikes the poor, says report

Published: Thursday 15 February 2007

Down to Earth Down to Earth Water-related disasters include flood, windstorms, drought, water epidemics, famine and landslides. These combine with other water-related hazards such as pollution and chemical spills, aquifer depletion, land subsidence, salinisation of arable land, marine intrusions, sea and storm surges, coastal flooding and water-borne diseases to affect ecosystems and food and livelihood security

Down to Earth During 1960-2004 water-related disasters increased significantly. During 1996-2005, about 80 per cent of all natural disasters were of meteorological or hydrological origin

Regional distribution Down to Earth Down to Earth During 1990-2004, 38 per cent of water disasters occurred in Asia, followed by 21 per cent in Africa.Losses in developing countries were about five times higher than in rich countries

Down to Earth Water-related disasters resulted in an estimated loss of us $446 billion during 1992-2001, which is about 65 per cent of economic loss due to all natural disasters

Vulnerability Down to Earth The Disaster Risk Index data 1980-2000 shows that India and China are at the greatest risk from floods

Down to Earth The maximum number of drought maximum deaths happened in Ethiopia and Democratic People's Republic of Korea. But most people were impacted by droughts in China, India and Indonesia

Down to Earth Number of affected people since the start of the twenty-first century increased alarmingly. During 2000-2004, 1,942 water-related disasters claimed 427,045 lives and affected 1.5 billion people

Down to Earth This increase is attributed to an increase in reporting activities, population growth and increasing value of assets

Down to Earth Disaster management Down to Earth The un's World Water Development Report 2 says, "Sustainable development, poverty reduction, appropriate governance and disaster risk reduction are interconnected."

Down to Earth Implementation of strategies laid down by international conventions were affected by issues related to ineffective organisational, legal and policy frameworks. Faulty risk identification, assessment, monitoring, inadequate knowledge management and education compounded matters

Down to Earth The report admits that risk and disaster statistics are still difficult to produce. There is no clear definition of people 'affected' by a disaster, where health, sanitary, social and economic dimensions are concerned

Down to Earth Other difficulties include a loss of institutional memory and limited access to data and information

Source Anon 2006, 'Water-a shared responsibility The United Nations World Water Development Report 2', UNESCO, Paris

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