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World: Asia-Pacific Humanitarian Bulletin July - December 2014

11 February 2015 - 12:23am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Lao People's Democratic Republic (the), Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, World

NATURAL DISASTERS AND CONFLICTS IN ASIA-PACIFIC

FEWER LIVES LOST

In 2014, Asia and the Pacific experienced 126 natural disasters, which affected a total of 85 million people. Significantly, casualties were a quarter of what they were in 2013, with nearly 4,000 people killed by disasters in the region. Floods and landslides were the primary causes of death according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED).

There were fewer large-scale disaster events in Asia and the Pacific in 2014. Although hazards including floods and approaching storms put people at risk, the absence of severe catastrophes meant that loss of life from natural disasters were much lower. In many places, improved preparedness measures and early warning systems, as well as larger evacuations, consistently moved people to safety and reduced the number of casualties.

Overall, China, India and the Philippines experienced the greatest number of disasters in 2014 with a large amount of people exposed to a variety of hazards. Cyclone Hudhud struck India’s east coast as a Category 4 storm in early October with wind speeds of over 190 km/h. Despite its destructive force, early evacuations of around half a million people kept the number of casualties at a comparatively low 84. Similarly, one of the largest peace-time evacuations of people from Typhoon Hagupit in the Philippines prevented major losses with a total of 18 deaths. The typhoon made landfall as a Category 3 storm, weaker than Super Typhoon Haiyan that killed more than 6,000 people the year before. A total of nine typhoons hit the Philippines in 2014.

Although 2014 saw fewer incidences, the overall disaster risk situation has not changed. Major floods in India, particularly around Jammu and Kashmir, China and Indonesia once again affected almost 23 million people. Large landslides in Nepal caused 484 deaths and affected more than 185,000 people. At the same time, China experienced a major drought that affected 27.5 million people.