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Interconnected Disaster Risks

“Nobody is an island. We are interconnected. Our actions have consequences − for all of us. As we become evermore interconnected, so do the risks we share. To manage these risks, we need to understand why and how they are interconnected. Only then can we find appropriate solutions.


Our world today is facing an unprecedented level of extreme events impacting people and nature, evident in the ever-increasing frequency of severe weather events, epidemics and human-made disasters. In 2020/2021, the world witnessed a number of record-breaking disasters that showed us clearer than ever before how interconnected we are, for better or worse.


Society will likely remember most of these disasters as tragic, but largely isolated events that affected certain parts of the world for a period of time. This report explains that these events are only the tip of the iceberg, by highlighting how these events are interconnected with each other, with other larger processes, as well as with our action or inaction. They can lead to future disasters or will worsen existing problems such as biodiversity loss or poverty. The report analyses 10 interconnected disasters that took place in 2020/2021. They were selected for their notoriety and representation of larger global issues, which have changed or will change our lives across the world:


Amazon Wildfires – Wildfires fueled by global appetite

Arctic Heatwave – Spiraling into a climate disaster

Beirut Explosion – When the global community abandons ship

Central Viet Nam Floods – When being prepared is no longer enough

Chinese Paddlefish Extinction – The fish that survived the dinosaur extinction but not humankind

COVID-19 Pandemic – How a pandemic is showing us the value of biodiversity

Cyclone Amphan – When a cyclone and a pandemic combine

Desert Locust outbreak – How manageable risks spin out of control

Great Barrier Reef bleaching – Losing more than a natural wonder

Texas cold wave – A preventable catastrophe?” (p.7)