The Jakarta Post
Rapid urbanization, unplanned development and the consequent impact these interrelated processes have on environmental buffers have exacerbated existing risks and created new risks of disasters in Asia Pacific, a UN report reveals.
The 2015 Asia-Pacific Disaster Report "Disasters without borders: Regional resilience for sustainable development" reveals that while investing in disaster risk reduction is proven cost effective, several "neglected" disaster management issues have put people, cities, infrastructure and economies at risk. Drought, for example, a forgotten disaster in the Asia Pacific region, pushes vast numbers of people into debt, poverty, and sometimes suicide.
"As Indonesia and other countries in Asia Pacific are embarking on the new agenda for sustainable development, it is crucial that they address disaster risks in order to protect the development gains," the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific ( ESCAP )'s director of ICT and disaster risk reduction division, Shamika Sirimanne, said on Tuesday.
Sirimanne was speaking ahead of the launch of the 2015 Asia-Pacific Disaster Report, in conjunction with a deliberation on the Indonesia Disaster Outlook 2016 of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, scheduled for Wednesday.
According to the ESCAP latest report, during the past decade, Indonesia has been hit by 143 out of 1,625 disasters in the Asia Pacific region and accounted for more than 10 million affected people by natural disasters. Half a million people lost their lives due to disaster events in the Asia Pacific region, of which 13,300 were in Indonesia. Disasters affected more than 1.4 billion people in the Asia-Pacific region and caused massive economic damage of more than half a trillion dollars over the same period, accounting for close to half of the global total.
The report shows how the impact of natural disasters can be mitigated and analyzes the value of end-to-end multi-hazard early warning systems. It also maps out the way to provide right information to right people at the right time.
"The Asia Pacific Disaster Report provides the valuable regional context to the ongoing efforts in aligning disaster risk reduction with the sustainable development goals in Indonesia," said National Disaster Mitigation Agency ( BNPB ) secretary general Dody Ruswandi.
"Coming after the adoption of the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Report helps us move these new global frameworks into a phase of regional and national implementation based on factual analysis and good practices," UN Resident Coordinator for Indonesia, Douglas Broderick, said. ( ebf )