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

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, the history of take-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society

    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.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora