Knowledge Note

The increased frequency and intensity of disaster events is well documented and understood by most stakeholders across the world. Governments, international institutions, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector, among others, have committed significant resources to raising awareness of the exposure and vulnerability of populations to natural hazards such as earthquakes, cyclones, excess rainfall, and other events. Awareness has increased for good reason: in the 1970s, approximately 69 natural disasters were annually recorded; by the 2000s, this figure had increased to 350 per year. Similarly, annual economic losses that averaged approximately US$12 billion per year in the 1970s have grown to approximately US$88 billion per year since 2000. The same patterns have been developing in the South Asia Region (SAR), where the number of disasters per year has quadrupled over the past four decades. Resulting damages have accumulated to over US$25 billion in the past five years alone.