Of the 100 cities worldwide most vulnerable to environmental hazards/disasters, all but one are in Asia, and four-fifths are in India or China, according to a risk assessment published last week.
Across the globe, more than 400 large cities with a total population of 1.5 billion are at ‘high’ or ‘extreme’ risk due to some mixture of life-shortening pollution, dwindling water supplies, deadly heatwaves, natural disasters and climate change, the report found.
The sinking megacity of Jakarta – plagued by pollution, flooding and heatwaves, with worse to come – topped the ranking.
But India, home to 13 of the world’s 20 most risk-laden cities, may face the most daunting future of any country in the world.
Delhi ranks second on the global index of 576 cities compiled by business risk analysts Verisk Maplecroft, followed within India by Chennai (3rd), Agra (6th), Kanpur (10th), Jaipur (22nd) and Lucknow (24th).
Looking only at air pollution – which causes more than 7 million premature deaths worldwide each year, including a million in India alone – the 20 cities with the worst air quality in the world among urban areas of at least a million people are all in India with Delhi in pole position.
Outside Asia, the Middle East and North Africa have the largest proportion of ‘high risk’ cities across all threat categories combined, but Lima is the only non-Asian city to crack the top 100.
While richer than India, China faces formidable environmental challenges as well.
Thirty-five of the 50 cities worldwide most beset by water pollution are in China, as are all but two of the top 15 facing water stress, according to the report.
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