MANILA, Philippines – The Asia-Pacific region saw the most number of disasters in the past decade, with the Philippines and Indonesia as the hardest hit countries, according to the United Nation’s (UN) Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific 2014.
Between 1994 and 2013, Asia and the Pacific bore the brunt of over 40% of the world’s reported natural disasters.
The Philippines and Indonesia recorded a total of 527 incidences and 354,293 deaths between 2004 and 2013. China had 285 incidences or more than double than the numbers in North and Central Asia (116 incidences).
Even though 28 upper middle income and high income countries account for 85% of total economic damage from natural disasters, low income countries suffered more in terms of the gross domestic product (GDP).
The report, published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said disaster-related deaths grew more than 3-fold in the region between 1994-2003 and 2004-2013 due to extreme disasters.
Despite these figures, the UN report said the Asia-Pacific continues to drive the global economic recovery, although not all are benefiting from it. The growth rate has remained at 3.9% from 2008 to 2012.
The region also accounts for more than 60% of the world’s hungry, and over 700 million people remain in extreme poverty. But since 1990, undernourishment prevalence has decreased from 22% to 13%, and one billion people have already overcome extreme poverty.
Today, 933 million people are vulnerable to poverty as they live on $1.25 to $2 per day. The report also added that inequality has risen in nearly half of the countries in the Asia-Pacific.
ESCAP Deputy Executive Secretary Shun-ichi Murata said data and statistics will be of “critical importance” to support accountability and monitoring of sustainable development goals beyond 2015 (READ: What’s next for hunger and poverty after 2015?). – Rappler.com
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