Building resilience to disasters is increasingly being recognized as a priority area in order to protect hard-earned development gains in the Asia-Pacific region. The private sector alone is estimated to hold 70 to 85 per cent of the investment in most national economies and makes over $80 trillion worth of institutional investments globally on an annual basis. Clearly, any attempts to reduce the risk of disasters and build resilience will not work without the active participation of the private sector.
The current paper provides a review of natural disasters and their impacts in Asia and the Pacific by disaster type, subregion and level of development. The first section looks at the occurrence of natural disaster events. This is followed by an analysis of fatalities and economic loss in sections two and three respectively. The short-term consequences of natural disasters on the economy are also mentioned. The final section briefly discusses aspects regarding exposure and vulnerability of countries in Asia and the Pacific.
The Asia-Pacific region has been battered in recent years by a relentless series of shocks. Some have been related to natural disasters, such as earthquakes or droughts or floods. Others, such as the 2008 financial crisis, have been caused by convulsions in global markets. Still others, such as rocketing food and energy prices, have been the result of a complex combination of shocks. The traditional approach has been to consider such events individually. This is increasingly unrealistic.
Extreme weather events and water-related disasters are occurring in Central Asia with increasing frequency. This publication provides an overview of water-related hazards and extreme weather events, their socio-economic effects, and related disaster risk management practices in countries of Central Asia and neighbouring countries. It outlines relevant subregional and regional cooperative mechanisms and initiatives that address these hazards in various range of aspects.
The ESCAP/UNISDR Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2012, Reducing Vulnerability and Exposure to Disasters provides an analysis of the impact of disasters on Asian and Pacific countries between 1970 to 2011, and discusses the twin challenge faced by the region of increasing exposure of its people and economic assets, and heightened vulnerabilities experienced by the poor and other disadvantaged groups to disasters. Pressures resulting from rapid urban development and economic growth has resulted in people and economic activities expanding into increasingly exposed and hazard-prone land.
Asia and the Pacific is a region vulnerable to natural hazards of almost every kind – from earthquakes to droughts, from floods to tsunamis. And with the prospect of climate change, the situation could become even more hazardous. The risks depend, however, not just on natural phenomena but also on the political, economic and social environment in which disaster events occur. This report considers ways of reducing vulnerability to disasters, building resilience and protecting hard-won development gains.