Twenty-ninth Session

Rome, 12-16 May 2003


Table of Contents


1. Recognizing the immediate and long-term adverse impact of disasters in worsening food insecurity and poverty, the Heads of State and Government at the Word Food Summit (WFS) in November 1996 made a commitment to “…endeavour to prevent and be prepared for natural disasters and man-made emergencies and to meet transitory and emergency food requirements in ways that encourage recovery, rehabilitation, development and capacity to satisfy future needs.”1

2. At the Word Food Summit: five years later (WFS: fyl) in June last year, the Heads of State and Governments re-iterated that they will “…strengthen national and international action to prepare for contingencies and emergencies and to improve the effectiveness of emergency actions both through food and non-food based interventions.” They stressed that such actions must be integrated into sustainable development efforts with all stakeholders involved to achieve food security, and that they are, “… committed to ensuring, through economic development, the use of early warning systems, and emergency assistance, that famine will never again be seen.”2

3. While emergency assistance to avoid human suffering remains essential, more focus needs to be accorded to mitigating and preventing natural disasters by national governments and the international community. The policy agendas for disaster reduction and food security, though potentially complementary, are not always identical. Unless contained through coordinated effective mitigation measures incorporated in development efforts, natural disasters would prove to be a formidable constraint to achieving the WFS target of reducing by half the number of the undernourished, and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

4. This paper has been prepared as a background for the Committee’s discussion on the incidence of disasters and their impact on long-term food security and poverty alleviation. Section II assesses the typology and incidence of disasters; Section III analyses the short and long-term impact of disasters; and Section IV reviews the policy implications and strategies to mitigate the impact of disasters, in line with the commitments and recommended actions in the WFS Plan of Action. Section V puts forward for the Committee’s consideration some specific recommendations for action by national governments and the international community.



5. Natural disasters are caused when natural hazards occur in vulnerable areas, resulting in substantial damage, disruption and possible casualties and leaving the affected communities unable to function normally. In analysing food security impacts of disasters, it is useful to distinguish between those of geophysical and of hydro-meteorological origin. The first group includes earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic activity and emissions; while those of hydro-meteorological origin include floods, tropical cyclones, storm surges, and drought. The latter types of disasters are likely to have more widespread and substantial impacts on agriculture and food related activities. Biological hazards3 such as outbreaks of epidemic diseases, plant or animal contagion and extensive infestation are also referred to as natural hazards.

6. Disasters can also be caused by technological hazards or industrial accidents, which may take place because of dangerous procedures or infrastructural failures. Environmental degradation is another form of human induced phenomenon which damages the natural resource base or adversely alters the natural processes of ecosystems. Environmental degradation increases the frequency and intensity of natural hazards4 as well as the vulnerability of communities to hazards. According to the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), while human induced factors do not alter the scale of geophysical hazards, climate change is affecting both the frequency and intensity of hydro-meteorological hazards.

7. While most natural hazards may be unavoidable, the damage they cause can be avoided or at least minimized. The vulnerability of countries and communities to a given disaster may be due to their location and susceptibility to the environment, but human action also contributes to the frequency and severity of hazards. Growth of population in semi-arid regions, for example, promotes the expansion of agriculture and cattle herding into marginal lands, which may lead to further deterioration of the natural resource base. Similarly, settlement on steep slopes often leads to changing landscapes in damaging ways, and increases the vulnerability of communities to disasters. Such activities, as deforestation especially on steep slopes lead to erosion, reduce the moisture absorptive capacity of the land, and increase vulnerability to flash floods that destroy houses and cultivated fields during heavy rains. Natural resource degradation, loss of resilience of the ecological systems, and loss of biodiversity are all factors which contribute to increasing vulnerability to disasters. Under such conditions, the lack of appropriate environment management, land-use planning and regulatory mechanisms can exacerbate the vulnerability of countries and communities to disasters. There is widespread concern that inappropriate management of resources and agricultural practices, which contribute to the degradation of resources, may make countries and communities more vulnerable to frequent disasters.

8. The process of climate change is also increasing the vulnerability of countries, posing a significant threat to peoples’ livelihood systems, and overall development prospects in developing countries. A rise in sea-level due to global warming is already eroding coastlines where populations and critical infrastructure are most concentrated. Coastal flooding is inundating farmland and fresh water supplies with salt, forcing some islanders to abandon their homes forever. In the Marshal Islands, farmers are resorting to growing crops in old oil drums to avoid planting in saline soils. On the Carteret atolls, off Papua New Guinea, rising seas have cut off one island and left 1 500 people permanently dependent on food aid from the main island.5


9. In recent years the incidence of disasters has been increasing drastically in number as well as in terms of people affected and in magnitude of material losses. Figure 1 shows a trend of consistent increase in the incidence of disasters during the period 1975 - 2002. In the fifteen year period (1975-1990) the incidence of disasters increased by more than four-fold. In particular, the final years of 1990s witnessed major natural disasters in several countries.

10. The number of people affected – injured, left homeless or hungry –tripled to 2 billion during the past decade, and those at risk have been growing by 70 to 80 million per year6. Direct economic losses increased five times to US$629 billion in the 1990s. However, in the 1990s the number of people killed by disasters was 800 000 compared to nearly 2 million lives in the 1970s.7 The decrease in fatalities, among other factors, is due to improved early warning and forecasting systems, preparedness programmes as well as better communication systems in many countries.

Figure 1: Incidence of Disaster (Annual Averages) - 1975-2001

Undisplayed Graphic

Source: EM-DAT: OFDA/CRED (2002) (

11. The incidence of hazards demonstrates considerable geographic variation as shown in Table 1. The data indicate that, during this period, Asia was disproportionately affected by natural disasters (with about 41 percent of all events) followed by Africa (about 30 percent) the Americas (16 percent), Europe (10 percent) and Oceania (3 percent).

12. There is a clear relationship between vulnerability to disasters and the level of economic, social and technological development. Between 1990 and 1998, about 94 percent of the world’s 568 major natural disasters and more than 97 percent of all natural disaster-related deaths were in developing countries.8 The data further indicates that the incidence of disasters is higher in low-income than in middle-income countries. In particular, the incidence of hydro-meteorological hazards is 68 percent (and drought 3 times) higher in low-income countries than in middle-income countries. An ongoing study on disaster vulnerability, based on multivariate statistical analysis, confirms a positive relationship between a higher level of economic development and reduced vulnerability to disasters.

13. A closer look at countries with a high proportion of their population undernourished shows that most of them continue to be affected by recurring natural disasters. At least fifty-one countries, of those classified as having 20 percent or more of their population undernourished, each suffered four to eight major disasters during the last two decades. Among such countries in Asia, Bangladesh suffered eight disasters with the number of people affected ranging between 11.5 - 73 million. Cambodia also suffered ten disasters, the people affected ranging between 0.3- 3.4. In Africa, Ethiopia suffered ten disasters with the number of affected people ranging between 3.8 - 10.5 million; Kenya suffered eight major disasters with the number of affected people ranging between 0.3 – 6.5 million. In Latin America, Honduras suffered four disasters with the number of affected people ranging between 0.048-2.1 million; and Nicaragua nine disasters with the number of affected people ranging between 0.08- 0.87 million. The food security situation in many of the countries affected by recurring disasters, particularly in Africa, was further aggravated by war and civil strife. The incidence of HIV/AIDS is also aggravating the compounded effect of structural problems and disaster shocks, worsening the food insecurity and poverty of households in many countries.

Table 1: Global Distribution of Disasters (by type and region) - 1975-2001)

Type of Disaster







% Share



























Wind Storm








Wild Fire








Extreme Temperature


















Volcanic eruption


























Insect Infestation








Human Epidemic










Industrial Accident








Transport Accident








Misc. Accident








% share








Source: Data from EM-DAT (

14. The increasing trend in the incidence of natural disasters is associated with the fact that more and more societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to such phenomena, in part owing to human activities. The prevalence of massive poverty forces people to be engaged in income producing activities for survival, like deforestation or farming in marginal areas, which lead to resource degradation. In addition, some development activities such as clearing forests for timber or road construction, put at risk natural resource sustainability, and are among factors contributing to the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. Environmental degradation also contributes to lowering the potential of resilience and recovery from the effects of disasters.



15. During the 1990s the average annual costs of natural disasters was US$70 billion, and rising rapidly. The way they are usually estimated –considering mainly the direct cost of infrastructure, equipment and inventories damage – results in higher economic losses for developed countries, both in absolute figures as well as in per capita terms. Although economic losses are not adequately reported in developing countries, such losses, relative to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), are higher in developing countries, suggesting a severe income and employment losses, reduced demand for agricultural and industrial output, and low level of investment. For instance, the economic losses in the United States from the 1997-98 El Niño were estimated at US$ 1.96 billion or 0.03 percent of GDP, compared with US$2.9 million of estimated losses in Ecuador, representing 14.6 percent of GDP, and suggesting a higher relative cost to restore the economy. Most developing countries do not have mechanisms such as crop insurance, agricultural stabilization assistance, house and property insurance, and public assistance to help quickly restore households and the economy, and, as a result, recovery takes longer.

16. The economy- wide impacts of hydro-meteorological related disasters are extremely severe in economies where agriculture constitutes a high proportion of GDP. Recurrent shocks often reduce long-term growth rates. The consequences of natural disasters on public finance are also potentially high, both in terms of destabilizing revenue and expenditure, and reducing public investment for longer-term development.9

17. The flow chart in Figure 2 shows the transmission of a drought shock through the economy.10 The adverse impact of drought is primarily manifested through crop and livestock production. Drought also results in reduced quantities of water in dams and thus on hydro-electric power generation. With a shortage of rainfall, production of food crops, export commodities and agricultural inputs and raw materials declines. Shortage of food supplies and a consequent rise in prices implies an immediate worsening of food security for small subsistence and below subsistence farmers as well as poor non-farm rural, and urban households. The decline of export commodities leads to reduced foreign exchange earnings and the country’s capacity to import. 11 Such shocks may intensify existing macro-economic problems such as budgetary deficits, external debt burdens and currency instability.

18. By reducing the production of agricultural raw materials and inputs, drought can also affect the manufacturing sector and reduce the production and availability of manufactured goods. As a result, domestic industries may be forced to operate at partial capacity and to lay off workers. Job losses in both agricultural and non-agricultural industries combined with price rises of food and non-food items would not only render those who lose their income and employment food-insecure, but would also lead to a general decline of consumer purchasing power with the possibility of depressing the economy and reducing investment both in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors thus slowing the overall development process. This would suggest that those who lost their jobs would remain unemployed, joining the rank of the structurally unemployed and falling into a situation of poverty and food insecurity.

19. Analytical studies on the long-term economic and food security impact of disasters are generally limited. A study on the impact of disasters in southern Africa – a region which suffers from recurrent droughts - shows that the 1992 drought , which was the worst in fifty years, reduced aggregate cereal production in the ten affected countries (Angola, Botswana , Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe), by 10 million tons, implying output losses of US$1.2 billion. The drought affected 16 million people in the ten countries, the same number affected by the current drought.

20. The study also showed that the 1991-92 drought had slowed overall economic growth in Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In Zimbabwe, largely as a consequence of the drought, the value of the country’s manufacturing output declined by 9.5 percent and export receipts from manufactures declined by 6 percent. The drought impacted on the manufacturing sector in a variety of ways, including through input supply shortages, reduced demand for both agricultural inputs and basic consumer goods such as clothing and footwear, as well as water and electricity supply shortages.12 Regionally, agricultural GDP fell by about 25% and total GDP by 2.3%, despite the buffering effects of the minerals extraction sector, massive relief programmes and external assistance. Because of the impacts of a subsequent major drought in 1994/95, as well as other unfavourable factors, these countries made only modest progress in reducing the extent of food insecurity before the onset of the current drought crisis in 2002-2003. In some countries, notably, Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, during the period 1990-1992 to 1998-2000, the number of the undernourished has increased.13

21. The impact of disasters in other countries and regions, on GDP and in slowing growth was also severe. In 1982 Peru’s GDP declined by 12 percent, half of which was attributed to the El Niño-related floods of that year. In Honduras, damages and losses from hurricane Mitch equalled to about 70 percent of GDP, which, according to the World Disaster Report 2002, “put Honduras’s economic development 20 years back.” Climate extremes associated with the 1997-98 El Niño resulted in losses of 16 percent of agricultural GDP in Ecuador offsetting three years of growth in the sector. In Asia, where 70 percent of the world’s floods occur, the average annual cost of floods over the past decade was estimated at 15 billion, with infrastructure losses accounting for 65 percent.14

22. Underpinning these economic figures is not only the destruction of productive assets and vital infrastructure and the loss of livelihood systems but also their implication to economic development and poverty aggravation. In general, the poor are frequently the primary victims of natural disasters not only because they live in marginal areas directly exposed to changes in environment, but also because they have less capacity in terms of financial and other assets to safeguard themselves. When disasters occur poor households suffer greater relative losses in terms of physical and social assets, resulting in deepening their poverty further. Such losses of assets can trap household in chronic poverty and food insecurity.

Undisplayed Graphic


23. The decline in GDP due to hydro-meteorological disasters is often accompanied with loss of employment and income opportunities in the affected sectors. Large-scale disasters can thus increase the depth and extent of poverty in affected developing countries (Box 1). The need to replace damaged infrastructure also means that governments have to divert resources from longer-term development objectives, compromising efforts to reduce poverty and food security.


Bangladesh : Impact of 1998 floods

Besides the relatively visible direct impacts such as destroying housing and washing away crops, and indirect economic impacts putting people out of work, the flood had also other related consequences on the poor :

  • The greatest relative impact of the disaster was on families reliant on wage labour, specifically agricultural labour;
  • The poor were more severely affected by the flood because they owned fewer assets that could be used to cover expenditure needs during the disaster, and had a harder time recovering to pre-disaster level;
  • The poor who lost income opportunities due to the flood were heavily reliant on borrowing (principally from money-lenders) to cover basic needs after the flood;
  • The number of poor relying on borrowing did decrease over time, indicating that the impact of the disaster dissipated slowly;
  • Food security for the poor, who were reliant on purchases to cover food needs, worsened after the flood due to difficulty in buying food (lack of disposable income and higher prices) rather than a lack of food (particularly rice) on the market;
  • Health conditions (disease incidence and malnutrition) worsened after the flood. In worst affected areas the percentage of households affected by illness of the main earner rose from 10% prior to the flood to 38% in October 1998, and only returned to normal levels six months later.

Source : Kelly and Choudhury, 2002; del Ninno and others,2001; Helen Keller International,2001

24. When emergencies occur, households often resort to selling their assets, such as livestock and other holdings, to meet their emergency food needs. In extreme circumstances, people migrate in search of relief and employment. Poor households are hit particularly hard when they incur injury and disability, affecting their ability to work, their main asset. The disruption of livelihood systems, with severe and repeated crop failure results in further pauperization of households and communities (Box 2).


Ethiopia : Disasters and Household Asset Depletion

In South Wello, a drought prone part of Ethiopia, research conducted in times of drought, revealed that droughts affect households differently in asset holding. Well-off households achieve or maintain higher asset holdings (livestock, cash, and equipment) through purchase of devalued assets from poorer households and keep their assets and products off a devalued market. Asset-poor households, however, find themselves in a situation of declining values for their meager assets as markets for such goods collapse, declining wages for their labour, rising costs of borrowing and declining access to social networks and support institutions during periods of massive depletion.
A group of researchers are conducting a further study on this empirical observation. The group is looking into the “hypothesis” that asset –rich households will re-accumulate depleted assets at much steeper rates, while asset-poor households may never be able to re-accumulate depleted assets even as more time passes. Poor household would be trapped under the poverty line with no way of emerging. Food aid helps many households through the immediate period following a natural disaster, yet some families find that they can never recover from the poverty in which they find themselves.

Source : http:/

25. As a result of disasters, the nutritional status of vulnerable groups, especially children, also deteriorates. Studies of the impact of the 1994-95 droughts in Zimbabwe found that women and young children were the most affected. For women the effect of drought on health (as measured by body mass) was temporary. With good rains the following year they regained much of the lost body mass. But for children ages 12-24 months the drought probably left a permanent effect. These young children lost an average 1.5 –2.0 centimetres of linear growth. The impact was even severe among children in households with little livestock, the principal asset of households to maintain food consumption in years of severe food shortages.

26. As the level of poverty and food insecurity worsens, communities remain more exposed than ever before to disasters, allowing affected populations to fall into a "vicious cycle of poverty" and long-term food insecurity. Disasters thus could affect the overall economic social fabric of societies. According to the World Disaster Report 2001 “Some places prone to continual “unnatural” /natural disasters are also becoming lawless and a threat to security”15, thereby creating an unfavourable environment for development activities.


27. The cyclical relationship between poverty, environment degradation and increasing incidence of disasters can only be broken through a sound national development strategy which combines short-term and long-term policies and programmes with the dual aim of reducing vulnerability to natural disasters and accelerating sustainable social and economic development.

28. The nature and the specific content of national strategies will vary depending upon the type of hazard/disaster a country is prone to, the availability of human and other resources, as well as on the strength of existing institutions of the country. Strategies, however, may have common elements in approach and objectives. The objectives of disaster risk reduction strategies include:

29. To be effective and to achieve the above objectives, strategies should have a two-pronged approach: (A) short-term measures to respond quickly and effectively when and if disasters take place; and, (B) long-term measures to reduce vulnerability to disasters and to ensure accelerated sustainable development.


30. Elements of a short-term strategy for disaster management include

31. Early warning and forecasting to provide advance information on possible impending disasters is an indispensable element of any disaster mitigation and management strategy. Such a system is useful to draw attention of policy makers, to raise public awareness and to make preparations to avoid or minimize the impact of disasters. While it is possible to get long lead times for some hazards like drought, lead time for other types of disasters remains relatively short, though significant improvement have been attained owing to technological advances in hazard forecasting. The use of satellites to provide advance information about timing and location of tropical cyclones has doubled the warning time, from 24 hours in 1990 to 48 hours in 1999, while the warning time for tornadoes improved from around 8 or 9 minutes to 17 minutes. The early warning on tropical cyclones appears to have significantly improved in terms of providing lead-time to move people and assets from areas to be affected. This is particularly important in saving farmers and fishermen working in vulnerable coastlines. With better information and understanding of natural phenomena, building norms and standards have also been improved in many parts of the world.

32. Risk assessment includes detailed quantitative and qualitative information and understanding of a risk of a disaster, its physical, social, economic, and environmental implications and consequences. It entails the systematic use of information to determine the likelihood of certain events occurring and the magnitude of their possible consequences. This may include the following activities:

33 The third important element in disaster management, over the short term, is a preparedness programme spelling out the actions to be taken, institutional responsibilities and arrangements, as well as resources, policies and actions to be kept in readiness and to be brought into operation when and if a disaster occurs. This includes management of adequate emergency supplies (food, medical and other stocks) at strategic locations; maintenance of contingent financial mechanisms; and a plan for the logistics that may be needed.

34. Various country experiences have shown that sound preparedness programmes play a key role in minimizing loss of life and damages during disasters. When hurricane Michelle – the most powerful storm since 1944- hit Cuba in November 2001, effective disaster preparedness and planning ensured that 700,000 people were evacuated to emergency shelters in time. When two years of record floods affected Mozambique, well-prepared local and national plans saved 34,000 people from drowning. In Bangladesh when a strong cyclone took place in 1997, thanks to the Cyclone preparedness programme (CPP), one million people were evacuated into shelters; and the loss of life was less than 200, compared to the 500,000 lives lost in the 1970 floods. The global decline in the number of deaths on account of disasters in the 1990s compared to earlier decades is attributable to such preparedness programmes.


35. Over the long term, accelerated sustainable agricultural development strategies incorporating disaster reduction schemes and mitigation measures, are the most successful way to reduce vulnerability to disasters at local and national levels. Available studies indicate that only an insignificant fraction of the amount of funds spent on disasters is used for investment to reduce the vulnerability to disasters. Research has also shown that US$40 billion spent in disaster mitigation would have reduced global economic loss by US$280 billion, if the money were to be invested on long-term schemes which minimize the vulnerability of communities to disasters.

36. Broad based successful agricultural development with effective disaster mitigation schemes to ensure sustainability of the resource base and the development process can reduce vulnerability through: (i) alleviation of poverty by employment creation and income generation in rural areas; (ii) stimulating overall economic growth since agriculture, in many low-income countries, is the most viable lead sector with linkages and multiplier effects across the economy ; (iii) diversifying the base of the economy through stimulating growth of other sectors and increasing their share in GDP, while reducing that of agriculture which is the most sensitive sector to hydro-meteorological disasters; (iv) owning to increase in incomes, enhancing the capacity of household and communities as well as the country as a whole to withstand the impact of disasters; and (v) enhancing the capacity of communities to enhance natural resource conservation and sustainability.


Disruptive effect of disasters become less in Small Island Caribbean countries

The highly disaster-prone small island economies of the Eastern Caribbean continue to periodically suffer the impacts of tropical storms. However, the disruptive effects have been less severe, shorter in impact and no longer a threat to longer-term food security. Dominica, for example, did not require internationally supported food relief operations after the devastation of Hurricane in 1979. A favourable combination of developments has contributed to reduced vulnerability, including economic diversification, some risk-spreading, and infrastructure protection schemes. Factors in this declining vulnerability include the following:

Structural change in the economy: agriculture’s share of the economy has rapidly declined (e.g. in Dominica halving to only 19% between 1977 and 1997) while manufacturing, tourism and financial services have grown and increased their share of GDP.

Risk spreading: the compulsory WINCROP banana crop insurance scheme, introduced in 1987-88 by the Banana Marketing Board of the four Windward Islands (Dominica, Grenada, Grenadines and St Lucia) , protects growers by offering partial financial protection in the event of storm damage;

Disaster mitigation investment: design standards for new and expanded infrastructure, rehabilitation of disaster damaged facilities has gradually reduced hazard vulnerability

Disaster impacts are usually localised, households are also resilient within open economies with relatively unrestricted labour mobility and income remittances.

Source: Benson and Clay, 2001; OAS, 1996, 1997,1999

37. Land use planning should form the basis for national efforts to mitigate natural disasters. Once appropriate plans are formulated, there are a number of agricultural, forestry and fishery approaches in practice that can be applied to reduce susceptibility and increase resilience. Integrating disaster risk reduction strategies to development plans ensures that efforts to mitigate disasters are carried out on a continual basis, thereby minimizing possible disruption on development efforts by recurring disasters. Mitigation measures would vary according to the type of disaster.

38. The mitigation measures that need to be undertaken in drought prone countries may include:

39. In areas which are prone to floods and storms, disaster mitigating measures relating to agriculture may include:

40. With respect to housing and settlements, mitigating measures may include:

41. To mitigate the impact of earthquakes, many countries have instituted building codes and standards to be followed by construction industries to protect buildings form the impact of earthquakes. Many others, however, have yet to introduce such codes.

42. According to the report “Living with risk- A global review of disaster reduction initiatives”16 by the United Nations, many countries have taken steps to integrate disaster risk reduction into their national economic and social development planning. Countries notably like China are progressively implementing their national disaster reductions plans within their overall economic and social development plans. In many other countries while the basic framework for a disaster risk reduction strategy exists, the process of integrating it and implementing it within the context of national development policies and programmes yet remains to be a challenge.


43. Besides causing sudden loss of life, human suffering and destruction of property, disasters intensify poverty and food insecurity and often impede efforts to achieve sustainable development objectives. The recurrence of natural disasters in many of the developing countries poses the danger that the WFS goal of reducing the number of the undernourished by half and the other Millennium Development Goals will not be reached by 2015, unless concerted efforts are undertaken at national and international levels to reduce the incidence of disasters and to accelerate sustainable development. Available empirical evidence suggests that without successful programmes to avoid or minimize the impact of disasters, it is possible that the intensity and extent of poverty may increase in many Low-Income Food-Deficit countries. Not only will the number of the poor increase but poverty will even be more severe in many of these countries.

44. To facilitate the progress towards the main WFS goal and the MDGs, the Committee may wish to make the following recommendations for implementation by member nations and the international community.

45. In line with Commitment five of the WFS plan of Action and paragraph 18 of the Declaration of WFS: fyl, member countries should:

46. The international community should continue to support national and local efforts to reduce vulnerability to disasters in the developing countries through:


1 WFS Plan of Action, Commitment

2 Declaration of the WFS: fyl, paragraph 18.

3 These hazards are typically acknowledged, but are often excluded from natural disaster data bases.

4 Some hazards may have natural or human-induced origin (e.g. wild forest fires and desertification). These may be referred to as hydro-meteorological or environmental degradation.

5 World Disaster Report 2002.

6 ISDR: Living with Risk – a global review of disaster reduction,

7 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, World Disaster Report 2002.

8 World Bank : World Development Report 2000/2001.

9 Benson and Clay, “Economic and Social Impacts of Natural Disasters: an assessment of their effects and options for mitigation: synthesis report”. Overseas Development Institute, London, 2003 (draft)

10 The flow chart could be applicable to other types of disasters.

11 If the area and people affected by drought is small relative to the country’s economy, when normal rains return, recovery could be fast particularly in resuming production of commodities with annual cultivation cycles, provided farmers have at their disposal agricultural inputs and tools to resume farming activities. In cases where drought affects livestock and production of crops with multi-year production cycle such as sugar cane and coffee recovery could be slower.

12 World Bank Technical paper No.401.

13 FAO, The State of Food Insecurity in the World,2002.

14 World Bank Development Report .2000/2001.

15 International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, World Disaster Report 2001.