This report provides a country-by-country analysis of the disaster risks faced by older people in 190 countries, based on three dimensions: hazard and exposure, vulnerability and lack of coping capacity. It helps to measure and assess countries’ progress in supporting older populations in respect of disaster risk, highlighting gaps in international and national data sets and pointing to appropriate policies. It demonstrates clearly how leaving out older people in approaches to development, including disaster risk management planning, can lead to bad outcomes for them in disasters.
The pilot index shows that the countries where older people are most at risk from disaster are Somalia (1), Central African Republic (2) and Afghanistan (3), due to ongoing conflict and a hazardous environment as well as the lack of services and protection for older people. At the other end of the scale, in São Tomé e Principe (188), Finland (189) and Malta (190), older people are exposed to the lowest risk in disasters. Two countries in the index which demonstrate that efforts are being made to reduce the disaster risks to older people are Japan (133) and USA (142). For both these countries, strong capacity and low vulnerability scores help reduce the risk to older people despite high hazard exposure values. However, while these countries show some progress, events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Japanese tsunami reveal that much more needs to be done on age-inclusive disaster risk reduction (DRR) to prevent the disproportionate impact on older populations.
The report identifies countries and regions at highest risk on the index that also show demographic projections of rapid ageing over the coming century. From these findings, it anticipates what the risk in the future may be. The analysis focuses on South and East Asia which demonstrates most visibly both rapid population ageing and increasing disaster risk. In particular, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand all include significant ageing populations with an increasing risk of climate hazard.
The report was developed as a pilot by HelpAge, with support from United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). The index is based primarily on the INFORM 2015 Disaster Risk Index developed by the European Commission in collaboration with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee.