Global terrorism has become increasingly deadly over the past year, with fatalities 30 percent higher than the previous five years' average according a worldwide study.
According to the latest data from global risk consultancy firm Maplecroft released on Wednesday, 18,668 lives were lost to terrorist attacks in the past year, up from an annual average of 14,433 for the previous five years.
The number of attacks, however, has decreased to 9,471 in the past year from a five year average of 10, 468, "revealing that terrorist methods have become increasingly deadly over the last year", the report states.
As well as taking their toll on human life and infrastructure, the increasing number of terrorist acts are causing economic damage as well.
The Maplecroft Terrorism and Security Dashboard (MTSD) has classified 12 countries as 'extreme risk', which it says are "blighted by high levels of instability and weak governance".
At the top of the list is Iraq, which recorded more than three times as many terrorist acts as in Pakistan, which has the second-highest number of incidents.
The government in Baghdad, says Maplecroft, is unable to combat the militant group Islamic State – formerly known as ISIS – having already lost the control of many key cities and areas in the northern and central regions of the country.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia follow Iraq but it's in Nigeria, the fifth on Maplecroft's list, that attacks are the deadliest.
The fastest-growing African economy has been rocked by 146 reported attacks in the past year, resulting in the death of 3,477 people, or an average of 24 people killed per attack, much higher than Iraq's two deaths per attack, according to Maplecroft.
The Islamist Boko Haram militant group has been causing havoc in the country and been widely mediatized for its kidnapping of 200 school girls three months ago. But it also highlighted the difficulty of dealing with such groups, whose reach sometimes cross borders.
The economic implications
"Libya, Kenya and Egypt are among a handful of countries to witness a significant increase in risk" Jordan Perry, principal political risk analyst at Maplecroft says in the report, adding that "key industry sectors, including tourism and oil and gas, have suffered significant damage".
Libya's crude production "has all but ground to a halt", the report says, as terrorist incidents doubled in the last year. This, in turn,has increased the risk of terrorism in Egypt (ranked 'high risk' byMaplecroft), whose tourism sector is already suffering from recent turmoil.
The sector, which represents 11 percent of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), saw revenue drop 43 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared to the same period the year before.
The story is similar in Kenya, ranked 12th on Maplecroft's list. Tourism, which accounts for over 12 percent of GDP has beenhit hard since the Westgate shopping mall attack in 2013.
However, it notes that despite June 2014 being the bloodiest month for Kenya since the Westgate attack, it also saw a strong showing at the country's $2 billion Eurobond debut, highlighting "continued investor interest in the country".
The report also underlines the rapid rise of terrorism acts in China. The country has recorded 76 fatalities so far in 2014, while there were only 16 in the first six months of 2013. The economic impact is "so farnegligible", says Maplecroft, but "security risk is likely to worsen".
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