Asia Worst Hit by Effects of Extreme Weather Events as Climate Changes

Naseem Sheikh

Asian countries including Pakistan face the greatest risk from severe climate change, which could force millions of people to flee their homes and trigger environmental migration, according to an Asian Development Bank report. The report titled "Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific" says Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan face the greatest risk, but Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China and South Korea are also especially vulnerable.

bangladesh cyclone Over 42 million people across the world and 30 million just from Asia were forced to flee due to natural hazard disasters in 2010, according to a new study by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)’s Geneva‐based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

In 2009, 17 million people were displaced by such disasters, and 36 million in 2008. Considering that figure, projections that 50 million people will be displaced by climate change globally by 2020 seems to be an optimistic projection. Reports from the International Organization for Migration say by 2050 there could well be 1 billion people driven from their homes.

 

The number of natural disasters reported has doubled from around 200 to over 400 a year over the past two decades. In 2010, over 90 per cent of disaster displacement within countries was caused by climate‐related hazards, primarily floods and storms.

 

In 2009 major floods in India and China which covered a huge area of the southern provinces, as well as some in central and even the north displaced over 15 million people.

 In Pakistan in mid‐2010, at least 11 million people were forced to leave their home areas, and had their homes and livelihoods destroyed by the flood waters.

 pakistan flood

“The scale of displacement is enormous. Every single number in this report is a person whose life is severely affected, and it is vital that those women, men and children who are being displaced by the impact of climate change and natural hazards receive the assistance and protection they need”, said NRC Secretary General Elisabeth Rasmusson at the launch. “This report provides us with evidence of the extent and urgency of the problem that we cannot ignore. We must increase collaborative efforts to prevent displacement by natural disasters, and do a better job of protecting those displaced”.

 

"Globally, eight to 10 countries with the largest number of people living in low-elevation coastal zones are in the region," the report says. Bank warns that migration driven by environmental factors is emerging as a serious concern. "It's not just a threat. It's something we've already seen," said Bart Edes, director of ADB's Poverty Reduction, Gender, and Social Development Division, stressing the need for policymakers and leaders "to take action now in order to help address the problem."

china flood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 1 Seven sudden-onset Asian disasters causing most displacement in 2009.

 

Country

Type

Start date

Number displacement

Source

Percentage

of total

displaced

India

Flood

25/09/2009

2,500,000

Reuters AlertNet

15%

India

Storm (Cyclone Aila)

25/05/2009

2,300,920

Reuters AlertNet

14%

China

Storm (Typhoon

Morakot)

09/08/2009

1,620,000

UN OCHA

10%

China

Flood

01/07/2009

938,000

IFRC

6%

Bangladesh

Storm (Cyclone Aila)

25/05/2009

842,000

UN

5%

Indonesia

Earthquake (West

Sumatra)

30/09/2009

675,000

UN OCHA

4%

India

Flood

01/07/2009

500,000

Action Aid

3%

Total

 

 

9375920

 

57%

 

  

 

 india floods

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table 2 Seven sudden-onset Asian disasters causing most displacement in 2010

Country

Type

Start date

Number displacement

Source

Percentage

of total

displaced

China

Flood

07/05/2010

15,200,000

IFRC/DMIS

36%

 

Pakistan

Flood

06/04/2010

11,000,000

Pakistan Floods Shelter Cluster

26%

Colombia

Flood

06/04/2010

1,500,000

Center for International Disaster

Information (CIDI)

 

4%

Colombia

Flood

01/07/2010

1,500,000

National Red Cross- Colombia

4%

Thailand

Flood

10/10/2010

1,000,000

AFP- news agency

2%

Nigeria

Flood

13/09/2010

560,000

AFP- news agency

1%

India

Flood

05/09/2010

523,000

Dartmouth Floods Observatory

1%

Total

 

 

31283000

 

74%


 

Some 26 million people worldwide currently live in situations of internal displacement as a result of conflicts or human rights violations. They were forced to flee their homes because their lives were at danger, but unlike refugees they did not cross international borders. Although internally displaced people now outnumber refugees by two to one, their plight receives far less international attention.

pakistan flood

Heart breaking data results shows that natural disasters all increasing  rapidly with passage of time and due to which more refuges are moving from affected area to safe place for their survival. In these disastrous conditions of flood, storm and earthquake a large number of contagious and epidemic diseases are spreads amongst affected due to sanitation and water contaminations.

The need of the hour is to sensibly utilization of energy resources and preplanning for coming disaster changes. Already  many countries have faced enormously  destructive hazards but one wonders if they apply any learning from these experiences.

This article is from one of Celsias readers, Naseem Sheikh from Lahore, Pakistan 

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