Natural Disasters in Asia
Analyses of EM-DAT disaster statistics for the last decades provide us with insights on the trends and patterns of disaster occurrence and impact, both globally and in individual continents, regions and countries. From 2002 to 2011 worldwide, a total of 3,800 disasters killed over 1 million people, affected 2.5 billion others and caused US$ 1,453 billion of economic damages.
Asia, particularly the South, East and Southeast regions, experienced a large share of the global disaster occurrence over the last decade. In fact, seven out of the ten deadliest disasters worldwide of the last decade occurred in these regions (see table 1, page 2). This is partly explained by the large land area and high population density, as well as geophysical and meteorological factors such as seismicity and storm track activity, that render these areas vulnerable to disasters. Future challenges related to population pressures, poverty, environmental degradation and weak infrastructures, are likely to aggravate the impacts of future disasters and should imperatively be addressed by policy makers, scientists and members of civil society organizations.
Given the importance of good data for policy, a stronger approach to disaster data collection, particularly in Asia, is essential for the development of effective policies for disaster risk reduction.
Debarati Guha-Sapir, Director