Most Dangerous and Safest Countries When It Comes to Natural Disasters


Map: The Telegraph

With ash clouds from the recent eruption of Mt. Ruang currently disrupting flights out of Bali, talk of a major earthquake about to hit San Francisco, a devastating earthquake in Nepal, and volcanoes spewing lava in various spots around Central and South America in the last few months — where the heck is it safe to travel and avoid natural disasters?

Related: What to Do in a Natural Disaster

The 2015 World Risk Report may have some answers. For its annual study, United Nations University assessed the risk of 173 countries, taking into account the chance of each one experiencing earthquakes, storms, floods, droughts, and sea level rises, as well as each nation’s preparedness to deal with such disasters, according to The Telegraph.

Topping the list of the most dangerous is Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific. Tourist favorites like Costa Rica, Cambodia, Guatemala, and the Philippines also rank high:

1. Vanuatu (36.43 percent risk)
2. Tonga (28.23 percent risk)
3. Philippines (27.52 percent risk)
4. Guatemala (20.88 percent risk)
5. Bangladesh (19.81 percent risk)
6. Solomon Islands (18.11 percent risk)
7. Costa Rica (16.94 (percent risk)
8. Cambodia (16.9 percent risk)
9. El Salvador (16.85 percent risk)
10. Timor-Leste (16.37 percent risk)

Related: Travel Destinations an Earthquake Could Strike Next

On the other hand, the safest country is in the Middle East — Qatar, which is making a big push for tourism and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. Other popular destinations on the list include Barbados, Iceland, and Sweden:

1. Qatar (0.1 percent risk)
2. Malta (0.61 percent risk)
3. Barbados (1.16 percent risk)
4. Saudi Arabia (1.32 percent risk)
5. Grenada (1.44 percent risk)
6. Iceland (1.55 percent risk)
7. Kiribati (1.78 percent risk)
8. Bahrain (1.81 percent risk)
9. United Arab Emirates (2.1 percent risk)
10. Sweden (2.26 percent risk)

The U.S. and most of Europe (except for the Netherlands, Serbia, and Albania) are low risk, while many countries in Africa, Asia, Central America, and along the northern and western coasts of South America are at higher risk.

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