News / Asia

    UN: Natural Disasters Pose Serious Economic Threat to Asia

    Residents cross a river with the body of a child after retrieving it from the flash flood-hit village of Andap, in New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, December 5, 2012.
    Residents cross a river with the body of a child after retrieving it from the flash flood-hit village of Andap, in New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, December 5, 2012.
    Ron Corben
    A new United Nations report assessing the impact of global disasters says Asia remains the most vulnerable region, especially China, where the economic toll in 2012 exceeded $10 billion. Economists warn the disasters may represent a serious threat to the region’s otherwise healthy economies.

    The joint report launched by the U.N.’s Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Asian Development Bank says Asia Pacific is the world's most disaster prone region.

    In 2012, alone, in South and East Asia, there have been earthquakes, storms and other natural disasters affecting 65 million people and cost $15 billion. That figure is a drop from 2011 when the region recorded a staggering $300 billion loss because, in large part, of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami and Thailand’s floods.

    “Asia is extremely disaster prone region and thus a very high increase in its trend over time from 1950 onwards," explains Debby Sapir, director of the Brussels-based Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters. "Asia’s share in the last 10 years is also extremely important. About 90 percent of the total affected population in the world are in Asia and almost all of the other deaths, the economic losses and the numbers of events are all rather high in Asia.”

    Typhoon Bopha

    Residents cross a river using suspended ropes at Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, Dec. 5, 2012, a day after Typhoon Bopha made landfall.Residents cross a river using suspended ropes at Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, Dec. 5, 2012, a day after Typhoon Bopha made landfall.
    x
    Residents cross a river using suspended ropes at Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, Dec. 5, 2012, a day after Typhoon Bopha made landfall.
    Residents cross a river using suspended ropes at Andap, New Bataan township, Compostela Valley in southern Philippines, Dec. 5, 2012, a day after Typhoon Bopha made landfall.
    In the Philippines, the recent toll from Typhoon Bopha - the 17th natural disaster to hit the country this year - has claimed more than 600 lives and more than 300,000 people displaced.

    Jerry Velasquez, head of the U.N. Office for Disaster Risk Reduction for Asia Pacific, says that, although communities in Philippines and regions such as Bangladesh have been able to better prepare for disasters to reduce the impact, the economic losses are continuing to rise.

    “Economic losses are going through the roof. If you look at the overall trend on economic losses it’s mainly driven by increasing exposure of people and economic activities - on flood prone areas and cyclone prone areas,” he says.

    Velasquez adds that the number of people living in flood prone regions in Asia has more than doubled, in the past 40 years, to more than 60 million. About 120 million people live in areas exposed to cyclones.

    Economic impact

    As Asian nations have gotten wealthier, the economic impact of the storms has also risen. Now, with more factories and businesses in flood-prone areas or near coastlines vulnerable to rising sea levels, there are fears that such natural disasters could have a deep impact on countries’ economic growth.

    “Asia Pacific, as a region, is arguably the most successful in economic development, economic growth and poverty reduction; and is also facing the greatest threat from natural disasters," notes Vinod Thomas, a director-general at the Asian Development Bank. "Going forward what we are looking at is not an interruption to economic growth and development but a systematic threat that could potentially derail economic development in the region.”

    The report says governments need to invest more to reduce disaster risks and holds Bangladesh up as a model. It says the country’s $10 billion spent in the past three decades has built improved early warning systems and better community preparations that have dramatically reduced the loss of life from severe storms.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.