Food Insecurity Increases Disaster Risk, Says Report

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In short
Proper feeding of people reduces the catastrophic effects of natural hazards, according to the World Risk Report, 2015.

A new report by United Nations University says the catastrophic effects of natural hazards, such as earthquakes or cyclones, can be decreased by ensuring that people are fed.

The World Risk Report 2015 also observes that the hungry are more vulnerable in the event of disasters, wars, and conflicts.

Peter Mucke, the Managing Director of the World Risk Report says during conflicts and wars, food security is as much at risk as during disasters.

World Risk Index 2015 evaluates the exposure to natural hazards faced by 171 countries and assesses the inherent vulnerability in the countries towards suffering from impacts when faced with these hazards.
 
According to the index, the island state of Vanuatu once again faces the highest risk in 2015. It was only in March that the country was devastated by cyclone Pam.

Ranked second and third are Tonga and the Philippines, which have merely swapped positions compared to the previous year. 
 
Uganda according to the report, is among the fifteen with highest risk due to coping capacity in case of disaster. Uganda is ranked behind Burundi while Nigeria is in fourteenth position in terms of lack of coping mechanism.   

Prof. Jörn Birkmann from the University of Stuttgart, who is responsible for the index says the vulnerability of a country largely determines whether a natural hazard will turn into a disaster.


Dr. Matthias Garschagen, Scientific Director of the World Risk Report and Head of Vulnerability Assessment says hunger and food insecurity have negative effects on disaster risks. He says on the other hand, disasters can significantly reduce food security. 

The report notes that in sub-Saharan Africa, there is an  overlap between the hotspot regions affected by hunger and those affected by high vulnerability to natural hazards.
 
The report calls for investment in agriculture, saying such investment is five times more efficient in reducing poverty and hunger than measures in other sectors.