Top 10 Cities Most at Risk of Natural Disaster

Written by Michael Graham Richard

All the natural disasters in the news lately made us wonder what parts of the world were most threatened by things like floods and earthquakes. Massive reinsurer Swiss Re (a company that sells insurance to insurance companies, allowing them to offload some risks) has a new report titled “Mind the risk: A global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters” (pdf) that sheds some light on exactly that. Using their sophisticated modelling software and a huge database of past events, they came up with a probabilistic ranking.

There are all kinds of ways to look at the data, but here are some of the most interesting variations:

Screen capture from Swiss Re report

Most are in greater Asia, apart from Los Angeles in the USA. This is not surprising because of higher population densities.

Screen capture from Swiss Re report

The list changes a bit if we look at it by “working days lost.” More European and US cities appear on the top 10.

If we look at just earthquake risk, this is what the top 10 looks like for both people affected and working days lost:

Screen capture from Swiss Re report

Here’s the same, but for storm ranking, which should be impacted by global warming (unlike earthquakes):

Screen capture from Swiss Re report

River flooding:

Screen capture from Swiss Re report


Screen capture from Swiss Re report

We can have an impact on some of these by combatting global warming, while other things are out of our control (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc). But it’s not because we can’t prevent an earthquake that we can’t prepare for one — there are many ways to make civilization more resilient to shocks, making sure that when the worst happens, there are as few casualties as possible and things like power generation, health services and food production and distribution are as little disturbed as possible.

Via Swiss Re

This post was originally published in TreeHugger

Photo Credit: UK Department for International Development


Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Angela Ray
Angela Ray3 years ago

I welcome all natural disasters. Bring 'em!! Hurricanes, tornadoes, meteor strikes, earth quakes, mud slides, psunamis, dust storms, wind storms, hail, ice storms, drought, etc.!! The only way we will appreciate mother earth is for her to really kick our asses!!! Then, when you evil wealthy people die, she can claim all her treasures and resources right back!! So there!

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra4 years ago

Thank you TreeHugger, for Sharing this!

GGma Sheila D.
GGmaSAway D4 years ago

Too bad the insurance companies won't attribute any of these so-called "natural" disasters to human interference, including pollution. Maybe if the Big Baddies had to pay higher premiums for their contribution to all the contaminationa and pollution, they'd start going green...naw, they'd just pass on the extra costs to us.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson4 years ago


Lynnl C.
Lynn C4 years ago


Connie O.
Connie O4 years ago

I agree Ron B.

A F.
Athena F4 years ago

Thank you for the article

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K4 years ago

I love the Pacific Ocean, but I'm glad I live on the Atlantic!

Karen C.
Karen Chestney4 years ago

Now I know where NOT to live.