Thursday, November 17, 2011

Climate change refugees rising steadily

Rousbeh Legatis in IPS: Asian countries, home to about 60 percent of the world's population, will be hit hardest by changing weather patterns and a degrading environment, research indicates. A whopping 90 percent of all disaster displacement within countries in 2010 was caused by climate- related disasters, the international body Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) reported. That year, 38.3 million women, men and children were forced to move, mainly by floods and storms.

Out of 16 countries with the highest risk of being severely affected by environmental changes in the next 30 years, ten are in Asia, according to the 2010 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, released by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft.

In Southeast Asia alone, extreme weather events like rising sea levels and storm surges "could cause economic losses of 230 billion dollars, or equivalent of 6.7 percent of GDP, each year, endangering the livelihoods of millions of people", as Bart Édes, director of the Poverty Reduction, Gender and Social Development Division of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), told IPS.

Climate change adaptation costs for Asia and the Pacific are estimated in the order of 40 billion dollars annually, the expert said. Sea level rise particularly affects the poorest of the poor living in coastal areas 10 metres above sea level and in small island states. ...

NASA photo of Samoa's Savai'i island, north east coast showing extensive lava fields from volcanic eruptions early in the 20th Century. Image shows the tiny settlements of Mauga, Samalae'ulu and Patamea

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