Relentless Sequence of Disasters in Asia-Pacific ‘Sign of Things to Come’, Cautions UN Regional Body


Changing patterns and worsening impacts of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific, coupled with environmental degradation and climate change, are not only making efforts to predict such catastrophes more difficult, but are also a “sign of things to come”, the United Nations development arm in the region has warned.*

UNICEF/Thomas Nybo | A young boy in Bangladesh navigates a river swollen from days of monsoon rain. He is collecting plastic bottles washed into the river to sell to recyclers to help his family purchase food.

Four distinct ‘hotspots’

In the report, ESCAP identified four distinct “hotspots” across the region, where fragile environments are converging with critical socioeconomic vulnerabilities with disastrous consequences.

The first is located within the transboundary river basins of South and South-East Asia – home to hundreds of millions – where poverty, hunger and under-nourishment are coupled with intensifying floods that alternate with prolonged droughts.

Other hotspots include the Pacific Ring of Fire; Pacific small island developing States; and sand and dust storm corridors were environmental fragility combined with land degradation, desertification and climate change could lead to devastating storms.

Sources: PDNA
Sectoral impact of disasters on selected countries.

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Need for ‘transformative change’

The report, released ahead of ESCAP’s Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction that will meet from 28 to 30 August, calls for transformative change, underscoring that social policies and disaster resilience must no longer treated as separate policy domains.

Instead, government agencies and ministries should collaborate and align their plans to ensure that disaster risk reduction and building resilience can be achieve comprehensively across policy sectors.

ESCAP is the UN’s socio-economic development wing in the Asia-Pacific region. Its 53 member States and 9 associate members span a geographic area from the Pacific island of Tuvalu in the east to Turkey in the west, and Russia in the north to New Zealand in the south. The region is home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s population. (*SOURCE: UN News).

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