Last Updated: Thursday, March 19, 2015

Agriculture bears major brunt of natural disasters: FAO


Agricultural sectors have been bearing the major burnt of natural disasters with worst in the developing world, according to initial results from a new FAO study released at the UN World Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction in Japan.

The study focused on the impact of natural hazards and disasters on the agriculture sector and sub–sectors in developing countries. Major data gaps on the impact of natural hazards and disasters on the agriculture sectors in developing countries were found during the study.

Natural hazards and disasters in developing countries have affected more than 1.9 billion people and caused over US$494 billion in estimated damage between 2003 and 2013. Economic losses from natural disasters have tripled over the past decade, and continue to rise.

It has caused heavy cost on poor farmers who do not have insurance or the resources to rebuild their lives after floods and other natural calamities.

"Humanitarian aid and official development assistance to the agriculture sector is small and more investment is needed in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) to build resilient livelihoods and food production systems," the report has mentioned.

According to the World Bank, the intensity and frequency of natural disasters across the globe threaten to slow down the development of countries. Thus, it is important to know how we can prepare for natural disasters with proper emergency preparedness plan for less natural disasters damage.

We have developed several natural disasters early warning system which provides warnings of natural disasters before they impact people and property. However, in spite of all the capabilities for advance warnings, we are still quite poor at preparing for these natural disasters. 

The total death toll from natural disasters in 2014 was over 6,000, according to the Natural Disasters in Asia and the Pacific: 2014 Year in Review report, released by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

By 2015, on average over 375 million people per year are likely to be affected by natural disasters. This is over 50% more than have been affected in an average year during the last decades,  a 2009 Oxfam report has mentioned forecasting the natural disasters 2015 statistics.

The 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR15), launched by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in early March this year estimated that an investment of US$6 billion annually in disaster risk management would result in avoided losses of US$360 billion over the next 15 years.

In these circumstances, the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, happening in Sendai, Japan from March 14, will adopt a new framework for disaster risk reduction for the coming 15 years.

Article Source:
FAO (2015). The Impact of Natural Hazards and Disasters on Agriculture and Food and Nutrition Security. Brochure prepared for the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, March 2015. Retrieved from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4434e.pdf