3 Aug 2011

UN report says economic cost of natural disasters in Pacific skyrocketing

4:51 pm on 3 August 2011

A United Nations report says the chance of being killed in a natural disaster in the Pacific has dropped by a third in the past 20 years but the economic cost of such events is skyrocketing.

The Global Assessment Report has praised small Pacific nations for improving their disaster response planning so markedly that fewer people should die when the next tsunami or cyclone hits.

But it warns economic losses related to the disasters are increasing across the globe, critically threatening the economies of small Pacific Island states.

The report says the 2009 Pacific tsunami cost Samoa 104 million US dollars, more than five per cent of the country's GDP, while the 2007 tsunami in Solomon Islands cost 90 per cent of its annual budget.

The report has been released at this week's regional disaster risk management conference in Auckland which intends to help Pacific nations develop a plan to cope with natural disaster and climate change.