Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unprecedented disasters are threatening economic recovery and need regional response

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia the Pacific: An increase in extreme weather events and unprecedented natural calamities have set back Asia-Pacific economic recovery and development gains and require a joint regional response, the United Nations told a meeting of 31 countries here today.

Ministers and senior officials and 22 international organizations working in one of the world’s most disaster-prone regions are meeting in Bangkok from 29 June to 1 July at the Second Session of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction to discuss a regional strategy to minimize the human, environmental and economic impact of disasters.

“This session takes place at a time when the region is yet to fully recover from the external shocks from the global financial crisis, and disasters contribute to aggravation of the situation and undermine the region’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” Acting Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Mr. Nagesh Kumar told the Committee.

The spate of disasters in many countries over the past year have affected the food security situation, further aggravating the rising food prices, he added. Inaugurating the Session, Thailand’s Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Suangsan Jamornchan noted that the meeting was “very timely” as the Asia-Pacific region “continues to suffer disproportionately from natural disasters”. “The impact of natural disasters upon social and economic development in the region cannot be left out of our agenda,” the minister said.

...According to the report, the region has suffered 85 per cent of deaths and 38 per cent of global economic losses due to disasters during 1980-2009. Nearly 90 per cent of all people affected by disasters in 2010 were living in Asia. ...

German Gunboat Adler wrecked by an 1889 typhoon in Samoa, overturned on the reef, on the western side of Apia Harbor, Upolu, Samoa, during salvage work after the storm.

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