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South Asia regional program for hydromet services and resilience: Bolstering weather forecasting to build resilience

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AT A GLANCE

Region: South Asia
Risks: Extreme weather events exacerbated by climate change
Area of Engagement: Strengthening hydromet services and early warning systems

The South Asia Regional Program for Hydromet Services and Resilience is supporting countries in the region better respond to natural hazards by strengthening their weather forecasting capabilities and hydromet services.

RESULTS IN RESILIENCE SERIES OVER 50% OF SOUTH ASIANS AFFECTED BY NATURAL DISASTERS

South Asia is highly prone to weather and water-related disasters such as flooding, drought, thunderstorms and cyclones, the impacts of which often transcend national boundaries. In August 2017, devastating floods caused by heavy monsoon rains claimed the lives of at least 1,200 people in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Climate change has raised the specter that both the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events could increase in the coming decades.

Continued urbanization and economic growth is resulting in more people and more assets being exposed to natural hazards. In the past two decades, over 50% of South Asians, that is, more than 750 million people have been affected by at least one natural disaster. The poor are typically the worst affected as they tend to live in the most vulnerable areas.

The social and economic costs of such hazards have been staggering with almost 230,000 people dead and $45 billion in damages between 1970 and 2008. Weather hazard damage shaves off between 2 to 6 percent of South Asia’s yearly GDP.