News / Asia

Asian Nations Spending to Reduce Costs of Disastrous Floods

A firefighter puts out a fire on a pile debris left behind after flood waters, one of Thailand's worst floods in five decades, receded in Bangkok, January 6, 2012.
A firefighter puts out a fire on a pile debris left behind after flood waters, one of Thailand's worst floods in five decades, receded in Bangkok, January 6, 2012.
Ron Corben

The rising cost of floods in Asia is forcing governments to increase spending on water management plans aimed at preventing future disasters. Thailand says it is trying to prevent a repeat of last year's disastrous flooding.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she is confident her government can prevent a repeat of the 2011 flood disaster by spending $11.5 billion to develop new water-resource management systems.

She predicted the Thai economy will grow by five percent this year, boosted in part by government spending on water management infrastructure.  

The country’s most severe floods in decades claimed 700 lives and cost the economy $45 billion, while growth in 2011 plunged to 1.5 percent.

Urban communities were inundated and almost 14 million people were affected across dozens of provinces. The Philippines, Cambodia and Vietnam also were hit by flooding during the monsoon.

U.N. International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction Special Representative Margareta Wahlstrom said rising costs from flooding is a major challenge in Asia.

“The bigger challenge for many countries is how do you cope with the economic losses? Is it possible to change the economic infrastructure of a country? Can you move industrial areas off the coastline so they are less vulnerable? These are major, major issues that should be dealt with at the highest political level in order to protect the gains of countries,” said Wahlstrom.

A recent U.N. report says disasters, largely earthquakes and floods last year cost a record $366 billion and claimed the lives of more than 29,700 people.

Global Network of Civil Society Organizations for Disaster Reduction Chairman Marcus Oxley said economic development has added to the cost of disasters.

“Losses in terms of assets are actually on an exponential increase. The mortality losses due to floods and cyclones are actually decreasing.  But the economic losses,  the losses to livelihoods, the losses to houses, to our assets, our physical infrastructure is actually increasing,” said Oxley.

Since 1998 China has boosted spending on water management systems to reduce flood impact. But China’s rapid growth and urbanization has left more communities vulnerable to floods.

In recent years China has built 85,000 dams, 270,000 kilometers of dykes and 170 water-retention areas, as well as 31,000 flood gates to better cope with flood risk.

The joint secretary of India’s National Disaster Management Authority, Amit Jah, said governments have an increased responsibility to develop disaster risk-management systems, given Asia’s role as a driver of global growth.

“Asia is the engine of growth. Today the growth in the world and therefore a lot of activities associated with growth, like emerging consumption, land use, building of infrastructure is taking place in India as well as all over Asia," said Jah. "I can say that in India we are very much consumed with the whole idea of making our infrastructure disaster resilient, in making our response better to every disaster.”

He said the Indian government has taken disaster-risk reduction into all government departments linked with growth, as well as bringing in the private sector and civil society.

You May Like

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More