Flooding in Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Natural disasters could cause more destructive damage in the Asia-Pacific, where local population suffer the risk five times harder than other regions, warned the United Nations, urging for action on disaster resilience.

According to the “Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2017” of the UN Economics and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) released on October 10, floods, storms and other extreme weather phenomena claimed 4,987 lives this year, much fewer compared to annual average since 1970, and affected 34.5 million people.

The UN report says natural disasters will grow more destructive in Asia-Pacific without action on disaster resilience. The report noted that due to the least capacity to prepare for or respond to disasters, the poor and low-income countries in the region experienced almost 15 times more disaster deaths than the high-income countries.

It also stressed that disasters could heavily impact and create more difficulties for the vulnerable, especially those who live in rural areas.

In addition to human costs, ESCAP research indicates that between 2015 and 2030, 40 percent of global economic losses from disasters will be in Asia and the Pacific. It also shows that future natural disasters may have greater destructive potential.

The report stated that countries facing largest economic losses due to disasters will be major economies like China and Japan. However, least developed and small island countries in the region will face greatest burden of losses of between 2.5 and 4 percent of their GDP.

[North-western ethnic minorities equipped with disaster response skills]

ESCAP also called for actions to mitigate disaster risk linked to climate change, including setting up a regional early warning system and investing in disaster risk education.

It said building disaster resilience into agricultural development plans was important, as studies showed most poor people in Asia-Pacific are farmers in rural areas.-VNA