$60 billion cost of natural disaster in Asia Pacific
Natural disasters in Asian and Pacific nations cost almost $60 billion and killed 6,000 people in 2014, says a new United Nations report.
There were 119 ‘disaster events’ recorded in the region, including cyclones, storms, floods, landslides and earthquakes, affecting almost 80 million people.
Worldwide there were 226 recorded natural disasters.
The report, compiled by the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), warned that Asia Pacific was ‘found largely unprepared in its response to cross-border floods and landslides’ and urged countries to implement better response strategies in future.
“Such disasters, which may very well be on the rise because of climate change, require improved regional information exchanges and the joint coordination of operations for effective early warning and evacuations,” ESCAP said in a statement.
The most damaging single event was a river basin flood in India in September that killed 1,281 people and caused $16 billion in damages, and floods proved to be the most damaging natural events of all, causing 3,559 deaths and $26.8 billion in damages over the year.
While the figures were a decrease from 2013, where 155 natural disasters killed 18,744 people causing $63 billion in damages and affecting 85 billion people, the report made particular note of drought in the region, which affected 31.5 million people – more than any other disaster type.
The report called on nations to pay attention to ‘slow-onset disasters’ like drought, noting that an ESCAP program for monitoring drought conditions is currently being trialled in six countries.
The UN world conference on Disaster Risk Reduction will be held in Sendai, Japan from 14-18 March.