Disasters & Accidents

Record number of climate disasters hit Asia-Pacific in 2020: Red Cross

Bangkok, Dec 16 (efe-epa).- At least 25 climate-related disasters have hit the Asia-Pacific region in the last 12 months, marking the highest number of such incidents in a year in more than a century, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Wednesday.

Floods, typhoons, droughts and extremely cold temperatures are some examples of these disasters, to which the Red Cross has responded by sending aid, according to a statement by the humanitarian organization.

“This record-breaking number of climate disasters reinforces in blunt terms what was revealed in the IFRC 2020 World Disaster Report – that more volatile weather is bringing more climate related disasters,” said the non profit’s IFRC Emergency Operations Manager Jessica Letch.

According to the Red Cross records, there were seven more climate-related disasters recorded in 2020 than in the previous year, when more than 94.2 million people were affected by climate disasters in Asia-Pacific.

The international body, which did not provide global casualty data for this year, said the Southeast Asia region has been hit hardest in 2020, with 15 disasters affecting more than 31 million people in the Philippines and Vietnam alone.

The Red Cross noted that the Asia-Pacific, home to more than 60 percent of the planet’s population, is the region that is most prone to climate-related disasters in the world, with double the number of emergencies in the Americas and Africa.

“Our teams are seeing the devastating impacts first-hand as they respond to widespread – and in many cases unprecedented – floods, storms and other extreme weather events,” said Letch, who also underlined the additional difficulty of carrying out operations in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“People are used to storms and floods right across Asia but this year has tested the resilience of tens of millions of people to breaking point,” she said.

According to a report by the IFRC last month, climate change disasters have caused more than 410,000 deaths in the past decade and affected 1.7 billion people.

Since the 1990s, disasters linked to global warming have increased by about 35 percent every decade, according to the report. EFE-EPA


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