Disasters are on the rise, both in terms of frequency and magnitude.
From 2005-2015, more than 700 thousand people worldwide have lost their lives due to disasters that have affected over 1.5 billion people, with women, children and people in vulnerable situations disproportionately affected. The total economic loss was more than US$ 1.3 trillion. Disasters inordinately affect lower-income countries. Sub-Saharan Africa, where two-thirds of the world’s Least Developed Countries are located, is prone to recurrent disasters, largely due to natural hazards and climate change.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015 – 2030 emphasises the need to manage risk rather than disasters, a theme already present in its predecessors, the Yokohama Strategy and the Hyogo Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Specifically, the Sendai Framework calls for strong political leadership, commitment, and involvement of all stakeholders at all levels from local to national and international, with a view to “prevent new and reduce existing disaster risk through the implementation of integrated and inclusive economic, structural, legal, social, health, cultural, educational, environmental, technological, political, and institutional measures that prevent and reduce hazard exposure and vulnerability to disaster, increase preparedness for response and recovery, and thus strengthen resilience”.
Understanding disaster risk is the Sendai Framework’s first priority for action: “policies and practices for disaster risk management should be based on an understanding of disaster risk in all its dimensions of vulnerability, capacity, exposure of persons and assets, hazard characteristics and the environment”. The outputs of disaster risk assessment should be the main drivers of the disaster risk management cycle, including sustainable development strategies, climate change adaptation planning, national disaster risk reduction across all sectors, as well as emergency preparedness and response.
As part of the programme “Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities”, UNISDR engaged CIMA Research Foundation for the preparation of 16 Country Risk Profiles for Floods and Droughts for the following countries: Angola, Botswana, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Kingdom of Eswatini, Ivory Coast, Namibia, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania, and Zambia.
The Country Risk Profiles provide a comprehensive view of hazard, risk and uncertainties for floods and droughts in a changing climate, with projections for the period 2050-2100. The risk assessment considers a large number of possible scenarios, their likelihood, and associated impacts. A significant amount of scientific information on hazard, exposure, and vulnerabilities has been used to simulate disaster risk.