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HomeAsia NewsAsia still most-disaster hit region during 2023, says UN

Asia still most-disaster hit region during 2023, says UN

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ASIA was the world’s most disaster-hit region from climate and weather hazards in 2023, the United Nations (UN) said on Tuesday (23), with floods and storms the chief cause of casualties and economic losses.

Global temperatures hit record highs last year, and the UN’s weather and climate agency said Asia was warming at a particularly rapid pace.

Melting glaciers threatening the region’s future water security, the World Meteorological Organization said, as it highlighted the impact of heatwaves in Asia was becoming more severe.

Asia was warming faster than the global average, with temperatures last year nearly two degrees Celsius above the 1961 to 1990 average, the WMO said. “The report’s conclusions are sobering,” WMO chief Celeste Saulo said in a statement.

“Many countries in the region experienced their hottest year on record in 2023, along with a barrage of extreme conditions, from droughts and heatwaves to floods and storms.

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“Climate change exacerbated the frequency and severity of such events, profoundly impacting societies, economies, and, most importantly, human lives and the environment that we live in.

” The State of the Climate in Asia 2023 report highlighted the accelerating rate of key climate change indicators such as surface temperature, glacier retreat and sea level rise, saying they would have serious repercussions for societies, economies and ecosystems in the region.

“Asia remained the world’s most disaster-hit region from weather, climate and water-related hazards in 2023,” the WMO said.

Last year, 79 disasters associated with water related weather hazards were reported in Asia. Of those, more than 80 percent were floods and storms, with more than 2,000 deaths and nine million people directly affected.

“Floods were the leading cause of death in reported events in 2023 by a substantial margin,” the WMO said, noting the continuing high level of vulnerability of Asia to natural hazard events.

As for precipitation, it was below normal in the Himalayas and in the Hindu Kush mountain range in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The annual mean near-surface temperature over Asia in 2023 was the second highest on record, at 0.91°C above the 1991-2020 average, and 1.87°C above the 1961-1990 average.

The WMO said there was an urgent need for national weather services across the region to improve tailored information to officials working on reducing disaster risks.

“It is imperative that our actions and strategies mirror the urgency of these times,” said Saulo. (AFP)

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