BUILDING & ENGINEERING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong billed as Asian country with the highest natural disaster risk

It's among the wettest cities in the region.

Four of the top ten cities with the highest natural disasters risk are in Asia.

According to a release from ARCADIS, Hong Kong (3rd place), Wuhan (4th), Tokyo (9th) and Manila (10th) all rank in the global top ten according to the recently released inaugural Sustainable Cities Index from ARCADIS, a global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm.

The natural disasters that threaten the safety of the four cities include storms, earthquakes and floods. The natural disaster ranking was developed by the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), and included 50 of the world’s leading cities.

Hong Kong’s natural disasters risk is mainly caused by storms, floods and wildfires. With an average annual rainfall of 2,200 millimetres, Hong Kong is one of the wettest cities within the Pacific Rim region.

The geographical location of Hong Kong makes it vulnerable to tropical cyclones between May and November each year. Hence, the number of storms since 1900 in Hong Kong has been relatively high.

However, the effective weather warning system and storm protection plans put in place by the government have minimised their impact in recent years.

Here's more from ARCADIS:

The natural disasters risk ranking measures each city’s risk through its natural disasters volume record since 1900.

The disasters that met at least one of the following conditions were included: Ten or more people reported killed; one hundred or more people reportedly affected; declaration of a state of emergency; or a call for international assistance.

Droughts, earthquakes, extreme temperatures, floods, mass movements, storms, volcanoes and wildfires were among the natural disasters included in the research.

Singapore is the only Asian city in the eight global cities ranked with the lowest natural disaster risk. Apart from Singapore’s geographical location minimising its natural disasters risk, the Singapore government’s approach to urban planning, which includes natural disaster prevention measures, plays a crucial role in ensuring Singapore’s safety from potential natural disasters.

Graham Kean, Asia-Pacific Head of Client Solutions at ARCADIS comments: “Many Asian cities are currently considered to have a high natural disaster risk. Natural disaster prevention should be integral to a city’s urban planning, rather than just optional.

The Sustainable Cities Index highlights areas of opportunity for governments, city leaders and organisations to develop strategies for minimising the impact of natural disasters on the city, as well as protecting its people and assets.”

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