For the first time in human history more people live in cities than in rural areas. The United Nations expects 6.3 billion people, or 68% of the world’s population, to be living in urban areas by 2050, with the highest increase occurring in high-growth markets. Many of these cities are located on the coast, and are threatened by floods, storms, earthquakes, and other natural hazards.
When you think of US cities and natural disasters, you naturally think of New Orleans, or maybe San Francisco. But when you consider both risk and the potential for property damage, economic impact, and loss of life, one city stands out:
Here are the top ten international cities by natural disaster risk, according to Swiss Re:
10. Tehran, Iran — earthquakes — pop. 13.6 million
9. Los Angeles, California — earthquakes, tsunami, sharknados* — pop. 14.7 million
8. Shanghai, China — flooding — pop. 11.7 million
7. Kolkata, India — flooding, tsunami, hurricanes — pop. 10.5 million
6. Nagoya, Japan — tsunami — pop. 2.4 million
5. Jakarta, Indonesia — earthquakes, flooding — pop. 17.7
4. Osaka-Kobe, Japan — earthquakes, typhoons, flooding, tsunami — pop. 14.6 million
3. Pearl River Delta, China (Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Dongguan, Macau, Ghangzhou) — floods, cyclones — pop. 42 million
2. Manila, Philippines – earthquakes, typhoons — pop. 21 million
And your number one natural disaster vacation destination:
1. Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan — earthquakes, monsoons, river floods, tsunami, daikaiju* — pop. 37 million
The good news from the Swiss Re report is that the cost of damage caused by natural catastrophes dropped by half in 2013, to $45 billion. But when the “Big One” hits LA, Kolkata, or Tokyo, expect that figure to skyrocket.