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Bangladesh among top 5 disaster-prone countries in Asia-Pacific

  • Published at 01:00 pm March 8th, 2021
Houses stranded in flood water in Jmalpur. Photo taken on Tuesday, July 14, 2020
File photo: A man with his bicycle wades through floodwater in Jamalpur on Tuesday, July 14, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

Latest UN report identifies hazard-prone countries with high vulnerability and low response capacity

The United Nations has found Bangladesh to be among the five most hazard-prone countries in Asia and the Pacific.

The four other countries are Afghanistan, Myanmar, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in its 2021 Regional Focus Model (RFM) on disaster vulnerability. The 2021 RFM on disaster vulnerability was published this week. 

The model identifies hazard-prone countries that have high vulnerability and low capacity to respond, and are therefore more likely to request and accept support from the international community.

Bangladesh has received over $250 million as disaster response assistance from top donors such as the US, UK, EU, Sweden and UN OCHA Central Emergency Response Fund between 2013 and 2017. 

In 2021, the RFM covered analysis of 38 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. OCHA is a United Nations body established in December 1991 by the General Assembly to strengthen the international response to complex emergencies and natural disasters.

OCHA categorized vulnerability and response capacity of 38 countries into four divisions: Very High (with a score of 7.5 and above), High (5.0 - 7.5 score range), Medium (2.5 - 4.9) and Low (2.5 and below).

In Asia and the Pacific region, Afghanistan is the only country that fell in the “Very High Risk” category with a score of 8.3. 

Myanmar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea all fall in the “High Risk” category with scores of 6.6, 6.5, 6.0 and 5.8, respectively.

India and Nepal also fall in the same category with a score of 5.3 while Bhutan (3.0) and Sri Lanka (3.9) are in the “Medium Risk” category and Maldives is in the “Low Risk” category with a score of 2.3.  

UN OCHA said a key challenge faced by humanitarian agencies is how to ensure that limited available resources are allocated where they are most needed and are efficiently delivered in a principled manner. “Decisions to allocate resources must strike a balance between meeting the immediate needs of the crisis affected communities and supporting efforts to strengthen resilience and response preparedness for future emergencies.”

To support humanitarian partners in addressing some of these challenges, the OCHA Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) produces the Regional Focus Model (RFM). 

OCHA considers the RFM a practical tool to inform and guide disaster managers by providing an evidence base on which to base discussions and prioritization.

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