Asia and the Pacific is subject to all major types of natural hazards and dominates disaster impact categories across all regions of the world. Between 1970 and 2012, more than half the world’s deaths related to disasters occurred in the Asia Pacific region. An estimated 1.8 million died as a result of natural hazards. Reported direct physical losses totaled almost $1.5 trillion over the same period, accounting for 43% of the total global losses, far higher than the region’s share in global gross domestic product. Direct physical losses are increasing more rapidly than regional gross domestic product, as both exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards continue to grow. The intensity and, in some areas, frequency of climate extreme events is expected to increase with climate change, potentially exacerbating this trend in future years. Disaster risk presents one of the most serious threats to building prosperous, equitable societies in Asia and the Pacific.
The Asian Development Bank seeks to help its member countries become more resilient to the effects of disasters. Between August 1987 and December 2013, ADB approved $19.5 billion for 631 disaster risk management-related projects. This has included flood control and integrated water resource management projects, as well as the development of innovative ways of financing disaster risk management. ADB’s quick response was seen in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines in 2013.
ADB believes that rising disaster losses and related setbacks in poverty reduction and development are not inevitable. Investments in disaster resilience can reduce losses, contributing to sustained economic growth, poverty reduction, and enhanced natural resources management. These investments have the most far-reaching effect if they are undertaken in the context of wider development and are carefully integrated into the development process. Successful investment in resilience also requires active cooperation between governments, the private sector, civil society, and the international community.