The group contains 15 of the continent’s capital cities and many of its commercial hubs, including Nigeria’s most populous city, Lagos; Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo; Tanzanian business hub Dar es Salaam; and Angola’s capital city, Luanda. Many of these cities at extreme risk are grappling with high poverty levels, expanding slums, weak governance and limited ability to adapt to climate shifts, the report said. The risk analysts combined their own annual index of vulnerability to climate change with United Nations’ projections on urban population growth to 2035.
According to the report, fast-rising populations act as a risk multiplier in lower-income cities with poor public infrastructure and inadequate disaster response mechanisms, with more people putting a strain on limited resources. An environmental analyst with Verisk Maplecroft, Niall Smith, warned wilder weather and rising sea levels could underpin a whole host of secondary impacts and social issues such as poverty, violence and resource insecurity.
Also, Mami Mizutori, head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said rapid, unplanned urbanization where slums are being created overnight is increasing disaster risk in many developing world cities. Ms. Mizutori added that municipal authorities should delineate red zones and prevent the construction of new, informal settlements in dangerous areas. She said more effort is needed to help rural communities cope with the harsher climatic conditions that are pushing people into cities to seek work.