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Coping with natural disasters in the Pacific

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  • Sanjesh Naidu

    () (Subregional Office for the Pacific, ESCAP)

Abstract

Pacific island developing countries are generally characterized by small population size and limited land area, remote geographic location and exposure to natural hazards and weather-related extremes, such as cyclones, tsunamis, droughts and floods. Based on historical frequency, the probability of a natural disaster occurring in Pacific island developing countries is estimated to be more than 20 per cent per year, which is higher than that of small States in other regions of the world. Lack of economic diversification and constrained macroeconomic policy space in Pacific island developing countries also limit their ability to absorb the impact of adverse shocks. According to an index that measures a country’s exposure and ability to cope with natural hazards in 171 countries, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu rank among the top 15 countries. In this context, climate change is often seen as the most significant threat to the livelihood and well-being of people in the subregion.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanjesh Naidu, 2016. "Coping with natural disasters in the Pacific," MPDD Policy Briefs PB35, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:pbmpdd:pb35
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    File URL: http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/MPFD%20Policy%20Brief-Pacific-Natural-disasters.pdf
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