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What Countries Are Most Exposed To Disasters? Depends On Sea Level, Smart Planning

DIE WELT (Germany)


Predicting earthquakes, floods, droughts and other assorted disasters is hardly an exact science. Still, as the just published 2012 WorldRiskReport notes, just how badly natural catastrophes hit comes down to how well prepared is the country’s government to respond.

In a risk index that includes 173 countries, experts of the Bonn-based United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU – EHS) have compiled information about not only just how at-risk these countries are but how well prepared for avoidance or minimization of the consequences of natural disaster.

According to the second annual report, the world’s most at-risk locations are the island states of Vanuatu and Tonga in the south Pacific that lie barely above sea level and could sink if it were to rise. Thirteen percent of the world’s population lives in coastal areas that lie less than 10 meters above sea level.

But while The Netherlands has the money to invest in protecting its coastline and area residents, Bangladesh (10th most at-risk nation) would be at the mercy of a catastrophe.

The report explicitly warns of the dangers of destroying natural ecosystems worldwide, which increases the risk of catastrophe. In the decade from 2002 to 2011, there were 4,130 catastrophes around the world, causing more than one million deaths and $2 trillion worth of economic damage.

New analyses show, the report says, that the situation today is more dramatic than had previously been assumed, and that the connection between environmental destruction and risk of catastrophe has been too little considered by governments. Catastrophe security should become part and parcel of all development policy, the report says.

After Vanuatu and Tonga, the most at-risk countries are the Philippines, Guatemala, Bangladesh, the Solomon Islands, Costa Rica, Cambodia, East Timor and El Salvador.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

As Israel Hunts Down Hamas Leaders, Are Their Patrons In Iran On The Hit List Too?

Iranian media has long blamed Israelis for targeting military and political officials inside Iran. Will Israel's Mossad teams of intelligence operatives resume these eternally murky strikes as retribution for the Oct 7 attack by the Tehran-backed Hamas?

Photo of Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) soldiers waving an Iranian flag during an anti-Israel rally in Tehran on Nov. 18

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) soldiers during an anti-Israel rally in Tehran on Nov. 18

Two months after the Hamas terror attack in southern Israel and Israel's massive retaliation in Gaza, Tehran insiders say Israel's threat to eliminate those behind the initial Oct. 7 attack is likely to go beyond just the leaders of Hamas.

Though it was Hamas that carried out the attacks that killed more than 1,000 Israelis, many believe it was done in coordination with the Iranian regime, considered the top regional patrons and financial backers of the Palestinian militant group.

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So far Israel has avoided directly threatening Iran, but it is believed in past years to have struck sites inside Iran and even interrogated and possibly shot an unspecified number of Iranian personalities including scientists working on its nuclear program.

Last week, Israel suggested it would not limit its targeted killings to Gaza, and would seek out some of Hamas's top leaders living in exile in different locations in the Middle East.

Hasan Hanizadeh, a regional affairs specialist in Tehran, recently told the ILNA news agency that he believed "Israel will not just focus on the physical elimination of leaders of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The Zionist regime's intelligence apparatus aims to remove all the leaders of the resistance," referring to the regional militias that have declared their hostility to Israel and the West.

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