Natural Hazards Pose Huge Dangers for Asian Economies

Diep Nguyen

07:25 24/10/2018

BizLIVE -

Over the past 20 years, for example, developing Asia has borne almost one-ffth (17%) of the estimated cost of global natural hazards—equivalent to $29 billion annually.

Natural Hazards Pose Huge Dangers for Asian Economies

Photo: CNN

Economic costs from the loss of life and damage to property and natural resources caused by natural hazards are rising. Developing Asia is one of the most disaster-prone regions worldwide—with devastating earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, typhoons, floods, drought, and landslides. 
Historically, the frequency of disasters from natural hazards has been increasing; and the swathe of their impact has been growing. This trend primarily reflects the exponential increase in the velocity, volume, and intensity of economic development, human interactions, as well as the concentration of human and physical assets in limited geographical spaces—the result of urbanization and agglomeration. 
In addition, climate change has also caused extreme weather events which sometimes lead to widespread disasters. Compared with other regions, developing Asia has been more exposed to the impact of disasters.
Over the past 20 years, for example, developing Asia has borne almost one-ffth (17%) of the estimated cost of global natural hazards—equivalent to $29 billion annually. Moreover, while 19.9% of disasters due to natural hazards occur in developing Asia, 31.4% of the people affected live in the region. 
In general, the distribution of disasters by category is largely dominated by floods and storms (hydrometeorological), which account for over three-quarters of all disasters. Storms and floods have the highest human impact, although mortality from flooding has been decreasing recently.
Natural hazards often cause massive loss of life, destruction of livelihoods, and destruction of tangible community and national assets—which can permanently affect long-term growth prospects. 
Natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical storms, floods, and landslides cause death; harm human lives and livelihoods; and destroy tangible assets such as buildings, property, and other capital assets. The loss of life and associated occupational skills, along with the destruction of school buildings, also disrupts education and diminishes overall human capital. 
Natural resources such as forests, farms, land, and soil quality are also affected. Together they can reduce the productive capacity of an economy—both short and long term. Furthermore, recurring exposure to natural hazards can also lead to adaptive but unproductive “behavior” by individuals or communities. For example, they may invest less in capital goods for fear of losing them again to another disaster.

DIEP NGUYEN