ASIA IS MOST DISASTER RISK CONTINENT
Erle Frayne D. Argonza
Disaster risk has been receiving intensive attention among various stakeholders across the planet. It looks like Asia’s own stakeholders have been at the forefront of disaster risk management, from risk assessment through actual interventions as crisis response measures.
Disaster mitigation may work with certain degrees of certainty, which policy makers and development institutions should buttress with greater efforts. Region per region assessments of geohazards and atmospheric disturbances in any one country should be the norm, with attendant policy and executory measures strictly implemented.
The last ten (10) years have seen horrific disasters in the whole of Asia, disasters that are close to continental catastrophe when integrated to form a complex reality matrix. To say the least, people’s reactions to them have been markedly traumatic, so that whenever they would receive news of powerful storms of tsunami nearby they cower in fear.
Are we indeed close to a ‘continental catastrophe’ for Asia, in case that the term may make sense at all? Below is a summary report from the Asian Development Bank about the disaster risk situation in Asia.
[Manila, 15 May 2013]
Disaster Risk Management in Asia by the Numbers
24 April 2013
Research shows Asia and the Pacific is more vulnerable to natural hazards than other parts of the world. The growing frequency of disasters, such as devastating floods or earthquakes, could derail the region's economic growth and poverty reduction efforts unless measures are put in place to reduce disaster risk and improve preparedness.1.1 deaths per 1,000 square kilometers: From 1971 to 2010, the average annual death rate from natural hazards in Asia and the Pacific was double the global average of 0.5.
Source: ADB publication Investing in Resilience: Ensuring a Disaster-Resistant Future
50%: Asia accounts for half of the world's estimated economic cost of disasters over the past 20 years.
Source: Independent Evaluation report Special Evaluation Study on ADB's Response to Natural Disasters and Disaster Risks
More than $19 billion: The losses that the region of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is estimated to incur from disasters every 100 years on average.
Source: A presentation during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) Regional Expert Meeting on Loss and Damage in 2012, cited in an Independent Evaluation report Special Evaluation Study on ADB's Response to Natural Disasters and Disaster Risks
Less than 5%: Disaster losses in developing Asia that are insured compared with 40% in developed countries.
Source: ADB news Risk Financing Is Key to Building Resilience Against Disasters - Study
$7.3 million: Annual savings in sea-dike maintenance from the investment of $1.1 million in the rehabilitation of 12,000 hectares of mangroves in Viet Nam.
Source: International Institute for Environment and Development paper, cited in an Independent Evaluation document, Making Infrastructure Disaster-Resilient
2009: The year ASEAN adopted the Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response, the world's first legally binding agreement on disaster risk management. In the same year, ADB established the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, which provides emergency relief to member countries.
Source: ADB publication Investing in Resilience: Ensuring a Disaster-Resistant Future, ADB's work to reduce disaster risk
$17.60 billion: The amount of funding that ADB approved in the past 25 years for disaster risk management projects, emergency assistance, post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction, and disaster risk reduction activities.
Source: ADB fast facts Investing in Resilience - Ensuring a Disaster-Resistant Future
3-year pilot project: ADB has approved a pilot disaster response facility to provide timely and effective assistance to countries eligible for concessional Asian Development Fund (ADF) financing, during the ADF XI period, 2013-2016.
Source: ADB policy paper Piloting a Disaster Response Facility