Asian Nations Are Urged to Address Disasters Together

Posted June 29th, 2011 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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A United Nations agency says Asian nations must work together to reduce the impact of increasingly severe weather events and natural disasters that threaten the region's economic recovery.

Nagesh Kumar, the deputy chief of the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, issued the warning Wednesday to delegates from 31 Asian nations at the start of a three-day conference in Bangkok.

The agency released a report saying Asia suffered 85 percent of the deaths and 38 percent of the economic losses from disasters between 1980 and 2009. The report notes that Asia has the highest concentration of people living in areas vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.

Kumar said the disasters have affected the region's ability to recover from the global financial crisis and achieve its Millennium Development Goals. He said disasters in the past year are contributing to fast-rising food prices.

Kumar was speaking at the second session of the Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction.

The meeting coincides with the fifth Asia-Pacific Urban Forum, which also opened Wednesday in Bangkok.