Natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region have cost almost 60 billion USD and claimed 6,000 live in 2014, according to a report from the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

The National Disasters in Asia and the Pacific: 2014 Year in Review report revealed on February 25 that economic losses owing to natural disasters last year remained high, indicating the region’s lack of economic resilience.

The highest economic losses in the region were caused by river-basin floods and Cyclone Hudhud in India which left 16 billion USD and 11 billion USD in damage behind, respectively. They were followed by Ludian earthquake in China with 6 billion USD in losses, the report said.

In addition, more than half of the world’s 226 natural disasters occurred in the region last year, affecting 80 million people and claiming 6,000 lives, compared to 18,744 deaths in 2013.

Shamika Sirimanne, ESCAP Director of Information and Communications Technology and Disaster Risk Reduction, noted that an important lesson learned from 2014 is that end-to-end early warning systems save lives.

The 2014 lessons also show that “building resilience remains a key priority in protecting lives and assets in the region”.-VNA