Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015
Making development sustainable: The future of disaster risk management

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(Source: UNISDR with data from EM-DAT.)
Figure 2.1 Distribution of disaster mortality by income group, 1990-2013
Faced with similar numbers of people exposed and hazards of the same severity, lower-income countries with weaker governance can expect mortality rates to increase by several orders of magnitude (UNISDR, 2009a

UNISDR. 2009a,Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction: Risk and Poverty in a Changing Climate, Geneva, Switzerland: UNISDR.. .
). This was tragically confirmed in the case of the estimated 138,366 people killed when Cyclone Nargis struck Myanmar in 2008.
Many countries have made significant progress in human development, in poverty reduction and in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Between 1990 and 2010, the proportion of people living below the poverty line more than halved, dropping from around 43 per cent to just over 20 per cent.3 Since 1990, the number of people living on less than US$1.25 per day has fallen from 51 per cent of the population to 30 per cent in Southern Asia and from 56 per cent to 48 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa (United Nations, 2014a

United Nations. 2014a,The Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, New York.. .
). In the same period, under-five mortality fell from 178 to 109 per 1,000 births in sub-Saharan Africa and from 116 to 61 per 1,000 births in Southern Asia (ibid.).
Disaster mortality can be expected to fall as development conditions improve and vulnerability is reduced. There is a greater chance that roads will exist to allow evacuation, that affected people can receive timely medical assistance and that greater levels of literacy and primary education will strengthen people’s understanding of warnings and disaster preparedness plans. Rising incomes and strengthened governance have also gone hand in hand with enhanced disaster management.
As discussed in Part II of this report, advances in early warning systems, ranging from more accurate monitoring of weather events to vastly increased mobile phone access and real improvements in disaster preparedness and response, have meant that whereas people often used to be caught off guard by hazard events, there are now contingency plans which enable timely evacuation to shelters and safe areas.
The experience of Odisha is not an isolated case. Several other low and middle-income countries have also made spectacular progress in reducing their mortality risk since the beginning of the IDNDR (Box 2.1).
Tsunami early warning systems can also be a highly effective way of saving lives. One tangible outcome since the endorsement of the HFA has been the creation of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System.4 However, the effectiveness of the system has not been tested by tsunamis of the kind that occurred in 2004.
Despite some notable exceptions,5 early warning is rarely effective in the case of earthquakes. People do not die in earthquakes; they die in buildings that collapse or catch fire in earthquakes, and there is rarely time to evacuate to safe areas and shelters. Consequently, many of the
internationally reported disasters has occurred in low and middle-income countries (Figure 2.1).
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