Topic of the Day - Disaster Risk Index

UPSC Exam Preparation: Topic of the Day – Disaster Risk Index

Indexes and their meanings and implications are important to know and understand for the UPSC exam. Questions can be asked especially in the UPSC prelims exam. In this article, you will read about the Disaster Risk Index or DRI.

The Disaster Risk Index (DRI) enables the calculation of the average risk of death per country in large and medium-scale disasters associated with earthquakes, tropical cyclones and flood. It also enables the identification of a number of socio-economic and environmental variables that are correlated with risk to death and which may point to causal processes of disaster risk. In the DRI, countries are indexed for each hazard type according to their degree of physical exposure, their degree of relative vulnerability and their degree of risk.

The Disaster Risk Index is a part of the World Risk Report 2016 released by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart in Germany. The index assessed the risk of disaster in 171 countries through the combined analysis of natural hazards and societal vulnerabilities.

The researchers have concluded in the report that a lack of critical infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster. Weathered transport routes, irregular electricity grids, and broken-down buildings not only hamper humanitarian aid from overseas, but also delay crucial aid for those affected.

The international community must invest more in the establishment and development of critical infrastructure even before the occurrence of disasters. Sufficient, high-quality infrastructure, which is well-managed institutionally, not only prevents the often disastrous aftermaths of natural hazards like storms or floods, but it can also play a major part in the distribution of aid supplies in the event of a disaster. Critical infrastructure can thus minimise the risk of natural hazards and also absorb economic losses.


The island state of Vanuatu ranks No.1 in the index and displays the greatest risk, as in 2016. While Bangladesh is among the top five countries at risk of disaster, India ranks 77 on the World Risk Index. 

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