Document / Publication
Victoria University of Wellington
School of Economics and Finance Working paper: 08/2015
In this article, the author tabulates and measures the burden of disasters on the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) by aggregating and comparing the data found in the two global datasets on disaster impacts.
The paper shows that the most commonly used dataset greatly underestimates the burden of disasters for the Pacific islands. Next, it describes a new index that aggregates disaster impacts, calculates this index for the PICs, and then compares the burden of disasters for the island countries of the Pacific with the island countries of the Caribbean. This comparison demonstrates quite clearly that the burden of disasters is significantly more acute in the Pacific.
Lastly, the paper discusses the evidence regarding the future impact of climatic change in the Pacific on the region’s disaster burden. The Pacific is facing a very high degree of disaster risk, and that is only predicted to increase in the future. On the other hand, the region has a small population, and given the global resources available for disaster risk reduction, it can easily be seen as the frontier where attempts to create a more sustainable and resilient future can be put to their first tests.