Thursday, August 21, 2008

Disasters are costing Asia 3 percent of GDP per year

Himalayan Times: With almost all SAARC countries grappling with natural disasters, participants at the SAARC workshop on 'Climate Change and Disaster: Emerging Trends and Future Strategies' here on Thursday laid emphasis on increasing regional cooperation to fighting against climate change and disaster.

SAARC secretary-general Dr Sheel Kanta Sharma said climate change was a cross-regional issue that threatened the region….The SAARC nations are vulnerable to floods, outburst of glacial lakes in Himalayas, cyclones, drought due to climate change coupled with water and food shortage, rise in the sea level, migration, deterioration of health and loss of biodiversity.

"Although we share burdens on emitting green house gases topographically, risk of climate change is higher in the region," said secretary at the Home Ministry Umesh Prasad Mainali. "Intensity and magnitude of natural disasters has been increasing in the region every year with multiple impacts on development process and bio-diversity, he said, citing recent cases of melting Himalayas, tsunamis and floods in the region. Failure to prevent the impact of climate change means the region would face more poverty and other long-term problems, Mainali said. "Innovative moves, scientific approaches and broad-based collaboration across the region are needed to make the region a safer place to live."….

Stating that consensus on specific interventions is needed to reduce disaster risks, director of the Disaster Management Centre (SDMC) PG Dhar Chakrabarti said the region was losing 3 per cent of GDP annually due to disaster. He said the workshop would highlight ongoing efforts on climatic change adaptation and disaster-risk reduction strategies, regional cooperation and roadmaps on strengthening the regional capacity…..

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