Natural hazards (e.g., landslides, earthquakes, volcanic events) have a significant impact on lives, livelihoods and economic growth, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable in society and threatening social and economic development progress. A report published this week by CRED/UNISDR estimate that disasters between 1998 and 2017 resulted in direct economic losses of US$2,908 billion, 1.3 million fatalities, and 4.4 billion people injured, rendered homeless, displaced or needing emergency assistance. Disasters place an additional demand on already stretched budgets, diverting resources away from improving education and healthcare, or developing infrastructure and jobs. The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) estimate that disasters drive 26 million people into poverty every year. It is therefore imperative, if we are to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that we accelerate efforts to reduce disaster risk. The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR, 2015) has put disaster risk reduction (DRR) at the centre of the UN development agenda, with an important role for geoscientists.
|Credit: UNISDR (used with permission)|
|Eruption of Santiaguito, Guatemala in 2014 (Credit: Joel Gill, BGS)|
Through our sustainable development work, we continue to have a leading role responding to requests for humanitarian assistance in the aftermath of disasters, such as the 2015 earthquake in Nepal or the 2017 landslide in Sierra Leone. Our volcanology team regularly provide advice during volcanic crises, often associated with multiple hazard types. We work closely with organisations such as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the Food and Agricultural Organization, NASA and MapAction to provide support and geohazard advice during emergency situations, including response to landslides, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes and earthquakes.
Through these projects, and many others (have a look through the web links below!), BGS are taking seriously the call of the UN Secretary General to help tackle disaster risk, contributing to global efforts to ensure a resilient and sustainable future for communities around the world.
Read more about BGS hazards and disaster risk reduction research:
- BGS Overseas Development work
- BGS Earth Hazards and Observatories (Earth Observation & Monitoring, seismology, volcanology)
- BGS Engineering Geology (landslides, shallow geohazards and risk)
- BGS Groundwater (e.g., groundwater flooding)
- BGS Marine Geoscience (e.g., tsunamis, submarine landslides)
- BGS Hazards Products