The recently published 2013 edition of the World Risk Report, drawn up by the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn and Alliance Development Works”, a coalition of German NGOs, has named Malta, once again, as the world’s second safest country in terms of its exposure to and ability to cope with natural disasters.
The collaborative report lists Malta in second place in terms of safety from natural disasters, and just below Qatar, which was once again deemed the safest place to have lived in 2013.
Vanuatu, Tonga, the Philippines, Guatemala, Bangladesh and the Solomon Islands topped a 173-nation ranking of disaster risks and how societies cope.
While the Maltese face an overall 0.61 per cent chance of falling victim to a natural disaster and those living in Qatar a 0.1 per cent chance, a fellow island dweller in Vanuatu faces a 36.43 per cent chance, Tonga a 28.23 per cent chance while those in the Philippines stand a 27.52 per cent chance of falling victim to a natural disaster.
Both Malta and Qatar, according to the report, have very low exposure to earthquakes, floods or rising sea levels and their societies and infrastructure are well prepared to tackle such events should they come to pass.
The index calculates disaster risk by the extent to which countries are exposed to natural hazards such as drought, storms or earthquakes, and by the degree of their vulnerability. The latter depends on social factors − such as, in particular, nutrition, public infrastructure, health care, governance, education levels and the state of the environment.
The index is broken down into four subcategories:
Exposure to natural hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, droughts and rising sea levels.
Infrastructure susceptibility in terms of food, housing, and economy.
Coping capacity in terms of governance meaning lack of early warning systems, medical care, and security
Countries’ adaptive capacities to future natural events and climate change