The Cities Most at Risk from Rising Sea Levels – World Bank – Is your City on the List?

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A recent report led by the World Bank lists the cities most at risk from flooding, due to rising sea-levels.

The study, “pinpoints cities around the world that will be most at risk and finds the costs of global flood damage could rise to $1 trillion a year if cities don’t take steps to adapt.”

This is an issue I have great interest in, having covered the subject in my travels across Asia, most recently documenting the challenges the Indonesian capital of Jakarta is facing with rising sea-levels and flooding. See gallery above.

There are two presentations of the list, as detailed below.

The first is determined by the total monetary cost of the potential damage. In order, those cities at the most risk are:

1 – Guangzhou, China
2 – Miami, USA
3 – New York, USA
4 – New Orleans, USA
5 – Mumbai, India
6 – Nagoya, Japan
7 – Tampa, USA
8 – Boston, USA
9 – Shenzhen, China
10 – Osaka, Japan

When measured as a percentage of cities’ GDP, to take into account of fast changing cities in developing nations, the list changes to:

1 – Guangzhou, China
2 – New Orleans, USA
3 – Guayaquil, Ecuador
4 – Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
5 – Abidjan, Ivory Coast
6 – Zhanjiang, China
7 – Mumbai, India
8 – Khulna, Bangladesh
9 – Palembang, Indonesia
10 – Shenzhen, China

It’s very interesting to see these two lists. It makes clear that the risks of rising sea-levels will have significant affects on urban areas in Asia and North America.

As I witnessed in Jakarta, it is often the poorest of residents in these cities that are at greatest risk. In the Indonesian capital, most of the slum communities could be found along the waterways of the city and along the coast. In many cases, homes would be just inches from the water.

How each country deals with the threats from rising sea-levels will be specific to their certain situation. This is undoubtedly another global environmental issue that threatens communities across the world.


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