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According to the 2015 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction, Ethiopia is among the six countries in the world where volcanic hazards my affect a large number of its population. The report states that this estimation is calculated based on the number of active volcanoes in the country, the hazard level each could pose, and the size of the exposed population living within 30 km of each volcano. Other countries on the list are Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and Mexico.
The report shows that the global expected annual loss from earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and river flooding are now estimated at USD 314 billion. This figure would be higher if it included other hazards such as drought in sectors like agriculture.
If these risks are not reduced, expected future losses would be significantly escalated especially in countries where disaster risk represents a significant proportion of capital investment and social expenditure, hindering development.
The report mentions that agriculture is among the sectors that could bring a series of devastating consequences when affected by natural disasters. When drought occurs, the direct impact includes reduced crop production and water levels, and damage of wildlife, the report said.
Indirect impacts includes reduced income from agriculture and increased food and timber prices, which in turn lead to wider impacts such as malnutrition, especially in children.
“In many of those countries where economic activity and employment are concentrated in agriculture, such as Eritrea and Ethiopia, a significant proportion of the population is undernourished, and a significant proportion of the area covered by vegetation is affected by high levels of land degradation and agricultural drought hazard,” the report reads.
Such disaster prone countries will also face increased unemployment, migration, reduced tax revenues, and the risk of foreclosures on bank loans to farmers.
The report underlines that although droughts can persist for several years, even a short, intense drought can cause significant damage to local economies.