Natural disaster costs set to rise sharply - new report

A new report by the World Bank and the UN says the cost of coping with natural disasters could triple to US$185 billion per year by the end of the century.

The report - compiled mainly by economists over two years - said the projection did not include climate change impact costs. But added more frequent and intense tropical cyclones because of climate change could raise total costs by an additional $28-$68 billion a year by 2100.

Entitled Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters: The Economics of Effective Prevention,  the report makes four main policy suggestions to governments: make information more easily accessible to prevent disasters; permit land and housing markets to function; provide adequate infrastructure and public services; help develop effective oversight institutions.

Meanwhile, donors need to focus more on prevention: “About a fifth of total humanitarian aid between 2000 and 2008 was devoted to spending on disaster relief and response" but far less was spent on prevention, it said.