A 250-page report from the World Bank and United Nations found the economic cost of natural disasters could triple to $185 billion by the end of the century. Climate change is likely to add to that cost while more than 1.5 billion people are predicted to experience major natural disasters by 2050.
The report highlights a number of preventative measures that are described as "stunning in their simplicity and common-sense approach."
The report said basic maintenance such as mending pot holes, painting steel bridges and keeping storm drains clear would help protect against death and destruction from natural disasters.
The World Bank notes many of its recommendations don't translate to additional government spending but, rather, better government spending.
"This report presents necessary evidence and a compelling case for our client countries to reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards so that they can develop in sustainable and cost-effective way," World Bank Group President Robert Zoellick said in a statement.
The joint report, however, said that while weather forecasting is more accurate than ever, more work was needed on warning systems.