Every donation counts!

Euro more less
IBAN: DE15370501980000001115
BIC: COLSDE33
X
World Risk Report 2015

World Risk Report 2015

Disasters are also a cause of hunger

A world without hunger in 2030 – that's no utopia, it is possible. The WorldRiskReport 2015 shows: A world without hunger must be a world with fewer disasters.

Each year, the WorldRiskReport by Bündnisses Entwicklung Hilft summarises the results of the World Risk Index. This calculates the risk for 171 countries of becoming victims of a disaster due to extreme natural events. This year's WorldRiskReport deals in particular with the relationship between disasters and food and nutrition security.

A selection of measures to raise food security. Click on the image to enlarge. © Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft: WorldRiskReport 2015
A selection of measures to raise food security. Click on the image to enlarge. © Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft: WorldRiskReport 2015
Emergency ration in South Sudan, June 2015: 5g of salt, 30ml of oil, 500g of sorghum, 50g of pulses per person/day. Click on the image to enlarge. © Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft: WorldRiskReport 2015
Emergency ration in South Sudan, June 2015: 5g of salt, 30ml of oil, 500g of sorghum, 50g of pulses per person/day. Click on the image to enlarge. © Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft: WorldRiskReport 2015
WorldRiskIndex, Exposure and Vulnerabiliy. Click on the image to enlarge. © Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft: WorldRiskReport 2015
WorldRiskIndex, Exposure and Vulnerabiliy. Click on the image to enlarge. © Bündnis Entwicklung Hilft: WorldRiskReport 2015

Disasters due to extreme natural events such as earthquakes, droughts or hurricanes are not the only causes of hunger, but they are an important element in the fight against hunger. This is because a poorly nourished population is more vulnerable in the event of a force of nature than a well nourished one. Therefore, a world without hunger will be and must be a world with fewer disasters.

Disasters increase the risk of hunger

Disasters destroy supplies, harvests and transport routes and particularly endanger those who live from agriculture. The example of Nepal after the large earthquake in spring 2015:

In remote mountainous regions, up to 70 per cent of the population did not have enough to eat.

  • Around half of the people were no longer able to eat a balanced diet.
  • The food markets broke down almost entirely, about 35 per cent of households were dependent on food aid.
  • In some regions eight in ten families lost their entire stock.
  • Agricultural equipment and seeds also fell victim to the earthquake. Many farmers could no longer tend their fields and therefore could produce no new food.   

Does hunger increase also the risk for disasters?

Conversely, the relationship between food and nutrition insecurity and disasters is not quite as apparent. A comparison of the WorldRiskIndex and the Global Hunger Index indicates that an insecure food situation and a high disaster risk occur together in many countries. These are some possible reasons:

  • Farmers, who are threatened by hunger, cultivate fields with an increased risk of natural disasters, such as flood-prone areas.
  • Fishermen, who are threatened by hunger, also go out in the storm season.
  • The physical condition of undernourished and malnourished people is usually poor. In the event of a disaster, they would rather accept physical injury.

Supplies, environmental protection, education: This is how a society reduces the disaster risk

If, in the case of acute disasters, food production and marketing comes to a standstill, and even aid supplies cannot be delivered due to destroyed infrastructure, supplies are a saviour - as long as they are safely stored.

However, in an already strained nutritional situation, supplies are only rarely set aside. Conversely, this means that: If sufficient food is available and if it is securely stored, the capacity of a population to deal with the risk of a disaster thus increases.

Environmental protection also plays an important role here: If the need is great and therefore, for example, fallow times are not maintained, the soils are at risk.  Knowledge about such relationships is important. But poor families regularly have to include their children in food security - at the expense of their education and, thus, long-term at the expense of societal education levels.

Further causes of hunger and what can be done

Besides disasters, there are, of course, other causes of hunger: Poverty, lack of access to means of production, lack of technology and investment in agriculture, poor infrastructure, unfair trading systems, political instability and corruption, food price fluctuations, food speculations and the competition between food and fuel production, as well as climate change. There are numerous measures, for strengthening the resilience of people against disasters and food and nutrition insecurity, for example:

  • The promotion of cultivation methods which avoid monocultures, which do not sap the soils and which use seeds suited to the climate zone. 
  • Investments in and educational work on soil protection and irrigation.
  • Improved transportation and storage possibilities, in particular crisis facilities.
  • Micro-insurance for smallfarmers
  • Creation of alternative income opportunities in agriculture.

You can read the unabridged text by Peter Mucke and Katrin Radtke in our paper Welternährung 4/2015 (in German only).

Contact
Kerstin Bandsom

Kerstin Bandsom

Information Centre

+49 228-22 88 127

World Risk Index 2015

Whether earthquake or tsunami, hurricane or flood: The chance that a natural event develops into a disaster is only partly dependent on the strength of the natural event. Equally as important are the living conditions of people in the affected regions and the available possibilities to react and help quickly.

The World Risk Index is based on 4 key questions:

  • How likely is an extreme natural event and will it affect people?
  • How vulnerable are people as a result of the natural hazards?
  • To what extent can societies cope with acute disasters?
  • Is the society taking precautionary measures against natural hazards expected in the future?

In 2015, hotspots lie in Central America, in the southern Sahel, in Southeast Asia and Oceania – countries with high or very high risk lie close to the equator remarkably often.

More on conflicts and disasters

Global Hunger Index 2015

Armed conflict and the challenge of hunger

Does armed conflict lead to hunger? Does hunger lead to armed conflict? The tenth edition of the Global Hunger Index examines a highly topical issue.

World Risk Report 2014

The city as a risk area

Whether extreme natural events put people in danger does not only depend on their intensity. The society's vulnerability is crucial too.