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World's Riskiest Cities Report 2014: Kolkata Ranks 7th in Global City List
Mar 29, 2014

Kolkata has emerged as the world's 7th riskiest city, the only entry from India, when it comes to being under threat from all types of natural disasters. An assessment of 616 cities around the world for their risk of earthquake, hurricanes and cyclones, storm surge, river flooding and tsunami has found that 17.9 million Kolkatans face the serious risk from natural disasters.

When it comes to only the threat of river floods, 10.5 million Kolkatans are at risk but the eastern Indian city is also fifth in terms of tsunami risk, with more than half a million people exposed. It is also threatened by hurricanes.

When the analysis looked at urban storms only as a form of natural disaster, two new Indian cities figures in the list as most threatened — Mumbai is ranked 8th with an expected 4.3 million people at risk while Chennai is ranked 9th most threatened with 4 million people expected to bear the brunt.

Tokyo has emerged the riskiest city in the world from all types of natural disasters. With 37 million inhabitants living under the threat of earthquakes, monsoons, river floods and tsunami, 29 million people in this region are potentially exposed. Manilla is the second riskiest city followed by the Pearl River Delta in China, Osaka, Jakarta, Nagoya, Kolkata, Shanghai, Los Angeles and Teheran.

The report said that storms endanger mostly urban areas on the coast. The danger of wind storms is most acute in the metropolitan areas of eastern Asia.

Across the 616 cities assessed, river flooding poses a threat to over 379 million residents. Over 283 million inhabitants could potentially be affected by earthquakes, and 157 million people are at risk from strong winds.

Across the 616 metropolitan areas included in this study, river flooding poses a threat to over 379 million residents. That is more than the 283 million inhabitants potentially affected by earthquakes and the 157 million people at risk from strong winds.

In contrast, coastal storm surge potentially affects only about 33 million urban dwellers, and tsunamis pose a risk to just over 12 million people. This is because only about 220 million or 13% of the metropolitan areas' residents actually live in coastal plains. More people live in larger and more condensed metropolitan areas located along the coast than they do anywhere else in the world. Eight out of the ten most heavily exposed urban communities are therefore all in East Asia.

When looking at winter storms in Europe, London (2.2 million), Paris (1.1 million), the Rhine-Ruhr area in Germany (1.0 million) and Amsterdam-Rotterdam (0.9 million) assume the top four spots.

Since most major cities developed along the sea or waterways, flood risk threatens more people than any other natural catastrophe.

According to the World's Riskiest Cities 2014 report, 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. Many of these cities are located on the coast and are threatened by floods, storms, earthquakes and other natural hazards.


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