Disaster risk

The potential loss of life, injury, and/or destroyed and damaged assets, which could occur in a system, society or community in a specific period of time, determined probabilistically as a function of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and capacity.


1. The definition of disaster risk reflects the concept of hazardous events and disasters as the outcome of already present or projected vulnerability and exposure conditions. Disaster risk comprises different types of potential losses that are often difficult to quantify. Nevertheless, with knowledge of the prevailing hazards and the patterns of population and socio-economic development, disaster risks can be assessed and mapped, at least in broad terms. 

2. With regard to infrastructure, disaster risk is associated with infrastructure systems that serve communities or businesses located in hazard-prone zones, or where infrastructure serving different (not necessarily hazard-prone) areas passes through hazard-prone zones.

3. See also “Corrective disaster risk management” and "Disaster risk drivers".


UNDRR Sendai Framework Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction (2023)


Fastest sinking city in the World – Jakarta

Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, is particularly vulnerable to flood risk due to its geography and rapid urbanization. Located on a deltaic floodplain at the mouth of the Ciliwung River on Jakarta Bay, the city is surrounded by several dormant volcanoes whose slopes form the upstream catchment areas of the 13 rivers that flow through Jakarta. However, these catchment areas have been developed for residential and agricultural use, exacerbating the effects of flooding. Moreover, sedimentation, illegal settlements, and poor waste management have decreased the capacity of Jakarta's rivers. The situation is worsened by land subsidence caused by the draining of aquifers (Taylor, 2020). The northern region of Jakarta is sinking at a rate of approximately 150-250mm every year, with 40 percent of the city now believed to be below sea level (World Bank, 2019). By 2050, 95 percent of North Jakarta could be entirely submerged, putting millions of people at risk (BBC, 2018).