Countries in Asia and the Pacific are four times more prone to natural disasters than those in Africa and 25 times more vulnerable than Europeans or North Americans, a United Nations report says.
Its release comes as IndonesiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s death toll rises in the wake of aÃ‚ tsunami and volcanic eruption that hit separate parts of the country earlier this week. More than 370 people are reported dead and tens of thousands driven from their homes.
The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2010 notes that while the region generated one quarter of the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gross domestic product (GDP), it accounted for 85 percent of deaths and 42 percent of global economic losses due to natural disasters over the last three decades.
The reportÃ‚ was launchedÃ‚ at the Fourth Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Reduction (AMCDRR) by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR).
Today officials at the AMCDRR meetingÃ‚ approved a five-year road map to cope with weather-related hazards in Asia. Fifty Asian and Pacific region governments agreed to make risk reduction part of their national climate change adaptation policies to address the increase in more frequent and severe weather-related events.
In a video message to the AMCDRR, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said disasters such as the recent floods in Pakistan are a reminder that disaster risks due to climate change are increasing and there is an urgent need to invest more in risk reduction.