Throughout 2021, the Asia-Pacific region was subject to a multitude of disaster events including cyclones, earthquakes, floods, and droughts. While such hazards are indiscriminate in their nature, their impacts have been felt hardest by the poorest communities, including minority groups, people in remote areas, and those on the margins of the region’s rapidly expanding cities.
The Asia Pacific region is being reshaped by a new climate reality, adding complexity to disaster contexts. With geographical deviation from their usual impact regions, changing frequencies, patterns, and increasing intensities, hazards are becoming more complex to predict. The best available forecasting suggests an increasing number of people potentially exposed to climate-related hazards as floods, typhoons, and cyclones increase in frequency and intensity. A major challenge to promoting risk-informed development and thus reducing disaster risk remains the integration of weather and climate information into decision-making.
2021 saw a transition to the “new normal” in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, with significant challenges persisting across the region and the socioeconomic toll of the pandemic only just beginning to be fully understood. COVID-19 has highlighted the interconnectivity of risks facing the region. Where climate-related events and biological hazards intersect, they can set off cascading disasters with widespread devastation. As highlighted in the Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 20211, the pandemic has underlined the need for a paradigm shift from a single hazard, single sector perspective to a multi-hazard, multi-sectoral, and systemic risk perspective.