107 Devastating Disasters Hit Asia and The Pacific in 2011

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The United Nations relief chief today reported that there were 107 natural disasters that hit Asia and the Pacific in 2011, almost half of the worldwide total, with regional economic losses amounting to $296 billion.

Reports say Asian and Pacific countries continue to suffer disproportionately from disasters caused by natural hazards.

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A destroyed town in Sumatra after being hit by a tsunami, caused by the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

Disasters have caused death, economic and environmental damage, and severe setbacks for social development of the Asian countries.

According to the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP or ESCAP), large-scale disasters included the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan of March 2011.

UN says the Asian and Pacific region is vulnerable to many types of disasters, including floods, cyclones, earthquakes, drought, storm surges and tsunamis.

During the past decade, on average, more than 200 million people were affected and more than 70,000 people were killed by natural disasters annually, ESCAP reported.

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie highlighted the importance of working with South-east Asian countries to implement measures to manage and reduce the risk of disasters.

On her visit to Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, Ms. Valerie Amos met with government officials and national disaster response agencies to discuss their recent experiences in disaster management.

Both Thailand and Cambodia were affected last year by floods and Ms. Amos stressed that the international community can learn from their experiences.

“I was encouraged by the response of the national authorities in Cambodia and Thailand and I have asked if we can be part of their lessons learned process so that the international humanitarian system can improve its support in future large scale disasters.” – Ms. Amos

She also underlined the leading role Indonesia and Singapore have played as supporters of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in disaster management.

She cites that Indonesia and Singapore have been instrumental in driving forward an ASEAN regional agenda for disaster response to support national governments in their increasingly active and central role.

Nature’s fury was at work once again on 11th March when a powerful earthquake of 9 magnitude hit the North-eastern Japan, triggering gigantic Tsunami waves which shook this mighty nation. This earthquake is said to be one of the five most powerful earthquakes the world has ever witnessed. This earthquake was so powerful it moved the Japanese coast by 8 meters and shifted the Earth’s axis.

This deadly combo of earthquake and tsunami has badly affected the Japanese economy. Economic impacts of the disaster are being felt across the globe. Asian share markets nosedived in the aftermath of this crisis. Japan’s Multinational entities like Sony, Toyota, Nissan, Honda etc. have to shut down many of their plants.

UN says people in the region four times more likely to be affected by natural catastrophe than those in Africa and 25 times more vulnerable than Europeans or North Americans.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.