By Kanya D'Almeida
UNITED NATIONS, Mar 3 2015 (IPS) - Nearly half of the four billion people who reside in the Asia-Pacific region are women. They comprise two-thirds of the region’s poor, with millions either confined to their homes or pushed into the informal labour market where they work without any safeguards for paltry daily wages. Millions more become victims of trafficking and are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery.
523,592 Refugees and asylumseekers 2,361 Identified unaccompanied minors 1,393,736 Stateless persons 20,000 Estimated irregular maritime departures in 2014
Population of concern
A total of 2.7 million people of concern including 1.4 million stateless and over 700,000 internally displaced.
NATURAL DISASTERS AND CONFLICTS IN ASIA-PACIFIC
FEWER LIVES LOST
In 2014, Asia and the Pacific experienced 126 natural disasters, which affected a total of 85 million people. Significantly, casualties were a quarter of what they were in 2013, with nearly 4,000 people killed by disasters in the region. Floods and landslides were the primary causes of death according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).
East Timor’s fragile peace may rest on the shoulders of one outgoing prime minister and the practice of paying off former combatants with depleting oil and gas reserves
A new report by UK think tank the Overseas Development Institute shows how Timor-Leste, a democratizing, rapidly-developing, resource-rich nation has experienced a remarkable period of relative safety since a third of its population perished from military action, starvation or disease during the 24-year Indonesian occupation that ended in 1999.
On January 14th, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dili, the Secretary of State for ASEAN Affairs, Roberto Soares, formally handed the total of one million and five hundred thousand dollars to authorities of Malaysia and Thailand to assist these governments in facing the damages caused by tropical storm Jangmi, that recently hit the region and these two countries in particular.
Coastal communities living in archipelago countries and small island states in Asia are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of hydro-meteorological hazards such as storms, droughts, landslides, and floods. Environmental degradation such as deforestation, desertification, biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and climate change, as well as social factors such as poverty and inequality, further compound their exposure to such hazards and make these communities extremely vulnerable to disasters.
Tectonic Plates and Fault Lines
The region is home to extremes in elevation and the world's most active seismic and volcanic activity. Southwest of India, the Maldives has a maximum height of just 230cm, while far to the north, the Tibetan Plateau averages over 4,500m across its 2.5 million square kilometres and is home to all 14 of the world's peaks above 8,000 metres. The Himalaya were born 70 million years ago when the Arabian Plate collided with the Eurasian plate.
Risk assessment for an area exposed to multiple hazards requires solutions to compare the risks. This map was generated by adding the value of mortality to the cumulated risk of cyclones, earthquakes, floods and landslides. Categories of risk based on expected annual losses.
This product was designed by UNEP/GRID Europe for the Global Assessment Report on Risk Reduction (GAR). It was modeled using global data.
Credit: GIS processing UNEP/GRID-Europe. http://preview.grid.unep.ch
Earthquake Intensity Risk Zones
This map shows earthquake intensity zones in accordance with the 1956 version of the Modified Mercalli Scale (MM), describing the effects of an earthquake on the surface of the earth and integrating numerous parameters such as ground acceleration, duration of an earthquake, and subsoil effects. It also includes historical earthquake reports.
Physical Exposure to Drought
Drought is a phenomenon that affects more people globally than any other natural hazard. Unlike aridity, which refers to a semi-permanent condition of low precipitation (desert regions), drought results from the accumulated effect of deficient precipitation over a prolonged period of time.
The units used in this product refer to the expected average annual population (2010 as the year of reference) exposed (inhabitants). The dataset includes an estimate of the annual physical exposure to drought. It is based on three sources:
Tropical Storm Risk Zones
This map was derived from the Munich Reinsurance Company's World Map of Natural Hazards and shows tropical storm intensity based on the five wind speeds of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
In 2013-14, our projects continued to help working men and women in developing countries learn income-generating skills, strengthen their human rights and workplace rights, and provide a better standard of living and greater hope for their children.
WASHINGTON, November 24, 2014—Partners in the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) today announced $107 million in grants to five countries−Benin, Bhutan, Kenya, Laos PDR, and Timor Leste−for country-led initiatives to increase agriculture productivity, reduce poverty, and improve food and nutrition security.
Today I met with United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark to discuss how Australia and the UNDP can further collaborate to reduce poverty, empower women and build stronger democratic institutions.
We also discussed the humanitarian toll being exacted by ISIL, the civil war in Syria and Iraq and what more the international community can do to assist, and the international response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
Australia will provide more than $21 million to the UNDP this year to support its vital work around the world.
Available protection space for refugees, asylum-seekers and stateless people in the region is fragile and unpredictable, due to a lack of national legal frameworks in most South-East Asian countries. Furthermore, some States have introduced increasingly restrictive policies - such as denying safe disembarkation or access at the airport, and narrowing protection space and access to asylum. There is also an increase in maritime “push backs” and instances of refoulement.
Minister for Health
The Commonwealth Government will increase Australia’s $18 million contribution to the response to Ebola in West Africa and strengthen preparations to detect and respond to a possible Ebola case in Australia.
A health service provider will be contracted to manage and run a 100-bed Ebola treatment facility in Sierra Leone, as part of the United Kingdom-led international efforts in that country. Discussions are underway with Aspen Medical, an Australian company, in this regard.
FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
- 2014 aggregate cereal output forecast to increase by 18 percent
- Cereal imports forecast to decline in 2014/15 marketing year
- Overall food security conditions improving but localized food insecurity still persists