Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vietnam remains in top group in new climate risk ranking

Thanh Nien News (Vietnam): Vietnam ranked fifth among the countries most affected by climate change from 1990 to 2009, according to a study released at a United Nations Summit being held this week in Mexico. The results are not surprising. In 2008, researchers from World Vision issued a report projecting that a one meter sea level rise would swallow 5 percent of Vietnam’s current land mass by the end of this century.

In 2009 alone, Vietnam ranked fourth among the world’s worst affected countries and territories, led by El Salvador, Taiwan and the Philippines, according to the Climate Risk Index (CRI) created by Germanwatch, a Germany-based non-governmental organization. "In 2009, surprisingly, Saudi Arabia and Australia were also among the ten most affected countries," said Sven Harmeling, author of the CRI at Germanwatch. "This shows that no country is immune to weather-related catastrophes, although poor countries are those which are affected the most, overall."

Harmeling said he made his ranking choices based on a wide range of factors, including the number of weather-related deaths per 100,000 inhabitants, and recorded losses per unit of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Vietnam is one of the most affected countries in terms of the frequency of severe weather events with an average of more than 10 events recorded every year during the last two decades, the report said. Floods and storms made up for 189 out of 203 recorded weather events in Vietnam over the same period, he told Thanh Nien Weekly via email. The researcher claimed that Vietnam lost approximately 3,200 people and US$5 billion to storms alone. Floods cost the country an estimated $4 billion and nearly 6,000 lives, he added. He said his findings stress that disaster preparation should be a high priority for the government…

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