Knowledge Note

Disaster risks are rapidly increasing around the world: many regions are experiencing greater damage and higher losses than in the past. There is variability in annual losses and deaths from disasters, but annual total damage (averaged over a 10-year period) has increased tenfold between 1976–1985 and 2005–2014, from US$14 billion to more than US$140 billion. Average population affected each year has risen from around 60 million people (1976–1985) to over 170 million (2005–2014).1 Disaster risk is influenced by the occurrence of potentially dangerous naturally occurring events, such as earthquakes or tropical cyclones (hazard); the population and economic assets located in hazard-prone areas (exposure); and the susceptibility of the exposed elements to the natural hazard (vulnerability).