Growth Plans Must Include Disaster Risk Reduction

loading Tropical Cyclone Sidr in the Bay of Bengal in 2007.

One bad natural disaster can undo decades of hard-earned development. It is therefore only rational for governments of developing countries to take measures to minimise damage. The problem is investments in risk reduction are not always politically beneficial in the short term.

The Asia-Pacific remains a very vulnerable region. Eighty six per cent of its total population were affected by natural disasters, accounting for a staggering 85% of deaths globally and 38% of global economic losses during the period of 1980-20091. According to the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the cost of disaster-related damage had risen 13 times from US$75.5bil in the 1960s to roughly US$1tril in the past decade2.

Over the last 10 years, we have seen an increasing frequency and force in disasters in the region. There are more reported extreme weather events such as tropical cyclones, intense rainfall and floods; prolonged drought and wildfires; and earthquakes and tsunamis.

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