Sunday, January 31, 2010

Asia-Pacific region can cut risks with better coordination

MaximsNewsNetwork: With typhoon-related damage accounting for more than half of the economic losses from natural disaster, countries in the Asia-Pacific region have agreed at a United Nations meeting to work closely together and coordinate their efforts after the 42nd Session of ESCAP/WMO Typhoon Committee, convened by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (ESCAP) in cooperation with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and hosted by the National Environment Agency of Singapore. The five-day meeting closed yesterday in Singapore.

This year’s session focused on the effect of climate change on tropical cyclones in the Typhoon Committee region. Results of an initial assessment show either a decreasing trend or no trend in the annual number of tropical cyclones and typhoons in the Western North Pacific and the South China Sea. Participants pointed out that climate models project fewer but more intense tropical cyclones in this basin in a warmer climate.

Typhoons continue to cause havoc in many countries of the region. In 2009, 22 tropical cyclones formed over the Western North Pacific and the South China Sea, 13 of which reached typhoon intensity. Three of them – Ketsana, Parma and Morakot – caused severe damage and losses in the Philippines, Cambodia, Viet Nam, and Taiwan, Province of China.

The Committee identified urban flood risk management as a key area for future work, given that high damage caused by tropical cyclones usually happens in populous cities when they bring heavy rainfall.

…The Committee works on reducing the damage caused by typhoons and floods in the region by coordinating the efforts of its members as well as recommending ways to increase community preparedness, improve meteorological and hydrological facilities. The Committee also promotes the establishment of programmes for training personnel in forecasting typhoons and other disasters.

Typhoon Parma in 2009

No comments: