Urban disaster risk reduction


National Societies have been always present in urban areas, but their capacity and action has been more effective in rural areas rather than in complex urban contexts.

As a major step in addressing this challenge, the World Disasters Report 2010, which focused on urban risk, echoed the global concerns over urban disaster risks. A number of major initiatives on urban disaster  risk reduction and management are now underway and the IFRC and the Iranian Red Crescent Society are working in partnership to address a range of issues at global level.

Five city-level pilot studies are soon to be carried out in five selected cities in different regions. The pilot studies will be involve a multi-stakeholder, multi-hazard, community and people-centred approach. The five pilot cities are:

  • Africa: Nairobi, Kenya
  • Americas: Tegucigalpa, Honduras
  • Asia  Pacific: Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Europe: Yerevan, Armenia
  • Middle East and North Africa: Tehran, Iran

Key facts and figures

  • The global population in 2012 was over 7 billion.
  • In 2010, the urban population outnumbered the rural population.
  • Global urban population is 53% versus global rural population at 47%.
  • The urban population projection for 2050 is 70%.
  • The global population living in slums and informal settlements is 1.5 billion.
  • 3.1 million people are estimated to die annually from urban air pollution.
  • 1.3 million people are estimated to die annually from road traffic accidents.

Urban dangers

“Cities can also be the most dangerous place on earth for those who live in an urban environment where the authorities have little presence and where the will and the resources are lacking to ensure basic social services, food security, running water, sewerage and respect for building codes.”

Bekele Geleta, Secretary General, IFRC