Natural and Technological Risks

 Indonesia's Mt. Merapi
Early warning systems and other disaster risk reduction activities supported by USAID/OFDA saved the lives of more than 10,000 people when Indonesia's Mt. Merapi erupted in October 2010.

Hydrometeorological Hazards

Climate, weather, and water-induced disasters—such as floods, droughts, cyclones, and tsunamis—account for the largest number of natural disasters worldwide and affect more people than any other type of natural hazard. Floods, storms, droughts, and extreme temperatures claimed approximately 600,000 lives, affected more than 3 billion people, and caused an estimated $2 trillion in economic damages over a 20-year period between 1994 and 2013. In the last four decades, the number of reported hydrometeorological disasters has increased nearly fivefold, from approximately 750 incidents between 1971 and 1980 to 3,500 events between 2000 and 2010.

In FY 2015, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) provided approximately $11 million in support of hydrometeorological disaster risk reduction (DRR) activities. Hydrometeorological DRR assistance reduces populations’ vulnerability to climate and weather hazards through an integrated and multi-sector approach that addresses community needs while emphasizing locally sustainable and environmentally sensitive measures. USAID/OFDA works closely with vulnerable communities, as well as national and local governments, international and regional organizations, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to increase resilience to climate- and weather-induced disasters.

Geological Hazards

Geological hazards—including earthquakes, landslides, and volcanoes—threaten millions of people worldwide and can devastate communities in a matter of seconds by destroying homes, causing food and water shortages, adversely affecting health, and disrupting livelihoods. Although geological hazards cannot be prevented, proper mitigation and preparedness efforts can minimize the effects of these disasters and promote resilience, potentially saving lives and reducing the negative economic effects of geological events. USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) supports geological hazard disaster risk reduction (DRR) programs, which emphasize an “end-to-end” approach that ranges from identifying hazards to helping communities and households reduce the impact of disasters. USAID/OFDA geological hazard DRR activities include monitoring events, supporting early warning systems, and educating at-risk populations and community leaders on proper response processes.

Natural and Technological Risks Archive

Last updated: November 20, 2015

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