21 May 2013

Economic losses from disasters costlier than thought

IIASA researchers contributed to a new UN report quantifying the economic losses of natural disasters around the world.

Hurricane Sandy damage © Marcelahirkova | Dreamstime.com

Hurricane Sandy damage © Marcelahirkova | Dreamstime.com

The Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction report was released last week by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. It shows that economic losses from disaster risk have been underestimated by at least 50% and are on the rise. The study estimates direct losses from disasters this century at approximately $2.5 trillion.

The report draws upon research from IIASA’s Risk, Policy, and Vulnerability (RPV) program, a global risk analysis based on a joint effort by leading scientific institutions, governments, UN agencies and development banks, the private sector and non-governmental organizations. The IIASA research shows that currently, national accounting does not adequately measure disaster impacts resulting from events such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, and storms, hiding the true costs from disasters. The paper shows how to more properly consider disaster risk in projecting economic aggregates, which would improve risk management and financing strategies.

RPV researcher Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler says, “For resilient economic development we must consider both risk reduction as well as new innovative financing strategies, such as the pooling of risk over countries or whole regions."

For more information visit the GAR report Web site


In this video, IIASA researchers Reinhard Mechler, Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler, and others describe the results of their contribution to the new report.

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Last edited: 28 November 2013


Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler

Senior Research Scholar

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 517

Reinhard Mechler

Acting Program Director

Risk and Resilience

T +43(0) 2236 807 313

Read the Full Report

Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2013

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