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Swiss firm says Manila 2nd 'riskiest city' in the world

MANILA, Philippines - A Switzerland-based reinsurance company found Manila as the second riskiest city in the world among the 616 largest urban areas that were assessed for a study .

According to Swiss Re's Mind the risk (A global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters), 34.6 million residents of Manila would be potentially affected by the aggregated perils of storm (winter storm, tropical storm), storm surge, river flood, earthquake, and tsunami.

The assessment was given to Manila owing to its vulnerability to earthquakes and storms.

Swiss Re said it devised a risk scenario per peril for each metropolitan area and focused on rare catastrophes. To show the potential effects of a natural disaster, the reinsurance company said it considered two indicators: the size of the urban population that could be hit by one or more natural perils (index of people potentially affected) and the possible impact on the local and national economy (index of the value of working days lost).

"In locations with a multi-hazard risk, the probability of an event increases substantially. Tokyo-Yokohama, Osaka-Kobe and Nagoya in Japan as well as the Pearl River Delta in China, Taichung, Taipei and and Tainan-Kaohshiung in Taiwan and Manila in the Philippines face a high likelihood of being impacted by different perils. This amplifies the threat to their inhabitants and economies," the study said.

Earthquakes would threaten 16.8 million residents in Manila, while storms would affect 12.6 million.

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The study also added that relative to the Philippine economy, Manila has the most working days (1.95 days) to lose as potential impact of these perils.

"Fewer metropolitan areas are exposed to heavy damage from storms than by earthquakes or floods. The cities potentially most affected by high wind speeds are located along the coastlines of Asia such as Tokyo-Yokohama, Manila, Taipei , and the Pearl River Delta," the study said.

Overall,  the Tokyo-Yokohama area in Japan is considered the riskiest city in the world as it is vulnerable to storms, tsunami, and earthquakes.

The third riskiest city is Pearl River Delta, followed by Osaka-Kobe (Japan), and Jakarta (Indonesia), as fourth riskiest and fifth riskiest cities, respectively.

Nagoya (Japan) is the sixth riskiest city, followed by Kolkata (India), Shanghai (China), Los Angeles (USA), and Tehran (Iran), respectively.

Swiss Re said it hopes that the findings of the study would prompt a global debate to strengthen the resilience of cities and encourage governments, citizens and the insurance industry to take "collective action to mitigate the risks faced by urban communities around the world."

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