Asia-Pacific is world's most disaster-prone region

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Chin State, remote and mountainous and one of the poorest regions in Myanmar, was among the hardest-hit by floods. Photo: UNICEF/Mohammad Badrul Hassan

Natural disasters have killed half a million people in Asia and the Pacific over the past decade, according to a UN report released on Tuesday.

The majority of these incidents are also cross-border, such as the earthquake in Afghanistan on Monday which also affected Pakistan and other neighbouring countries.

The report says achieving sustainable development difficult will be difficult if the region does not address these risks.

Dianne Penn has the story.

Asia-Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world and events are becoming larger, more frequent and more intense, according to the report. 

During the past decade, the region was struck by 1,625 disasters, representing more than 40 per cent of the global total. 

Furthermore, more than 1.4 billion people were affected by these incidents, while half a million others lost their lives. 

However, the study says these figures are "gross underestimates" as there is no standardized methodology for collecting disaster statistics. 

The report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) highlights how rapid economic growth, rising populations and growing cities are exacerbating risks. 

It also includes recommendations for integrating disaster risk reduction into national sustainable development plans and policies. 

And while the report says investing in disaster risk reduction is cost effective, it finds political commitment has not resulted in adequate action. 

Dianne Penn, United Nations. 

Duration: 1'07"

 

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