What with the tsunami and the upcoming inaguration, disaster scenarios are all the rage. To help calm down an unsettled world, the German Reinsurance company, Munich Re, has come out with a list of cities around the world that are at highest risk for some sort of “mega-disaster.” Our little neck of the world, that being the Bay Area, comes in as the second most vulnerable city, beating out every city except Tokyo. Woo hoo! Take that New York. The list is based on the potential for catastrophic losses in lives and property from earthquakes, flooding, tsunamis or terrorism. Tokyo scored highest in points on the “natural hazard risk index” with 710 points because of the cities huge population combined with vulnerability to volcanic eruption, earthquakes, tropical storms, tsunamis and flooding (not to mention Godzilla). San Francisco came in 2nd at 167, which means while things maybe dangerous here, we’re not nearly as screwed as Tokyo. LA is next on the list with 100 points.

Munich Re is a leading reinsurance company which basically means that they insure the insurance companies (but who insurances them? The rereinsurers?) and wind up doling out a lot money to insurance companies after natural disasters hit. To help the company prepare for the future, the company does research on possible catastrophic trends which is how they came up with the “natural hazard risk index.” It’s leading researcher, Gerd Berz, has spent the past thirty years monitoring things such as climate change, population trends, and infrastructure. Long story short, more population at greater density increases chances of “mega-disaster” at huge cost and toll. Besides helping Munich Re plan for the future, Berz’s job is to be the guy in all the disaster movie who spends all their time telling everyone something bad is going to happen, only to have nobody listen to them. While that job sounds slightly on the frustrating side, those guys always survive the movie.

In light of information such as this, an organization has been set up to try and get a resolution for a Disaster Commission to be established in San Francisco. But before we get all doom and gloomy over this list, let’s look the bright side, everyone. Maybe this will be the thing to finally bring down housing costs?

Image courtesy of Wikipedia