The New Year was not so happy in Queensland, Australia. In December 2010 and January 2011, floods swept across the state and at the beginning of February 2011, cyclone Yasi, a category 5 storm, struck near Cairns. Dozens died, hundreds were evacuated, thousands were affected and an excess of US$15 billion of damages were caused. A state of emergency was declared in all but one of the 75 councils. Seventy percent of the state was impacted; an area five times the size of the United Kingdom.
|A power substation in Yingxhou, Sichuan Province was almost totally destroyed in the magnitude 7.9 Sichuan-Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.|
The statistics are startling. 75% of global flood mortality risk is concentrated in only three Asian countries: Bangladesh, China and India. 85 % of deaths from tropical cyclones are in just two Asian countries: Bangladesh and India. Indeed, Bangladesh alone accounts for over three-quarters of people dying from tropical cyclones. 85% of global earthquake risk is concentrated in only 12% of the earth’s surface—a large part of it in Asia. In 2009, six of the ten countries with the highest mortality rates and GDP losses from natural disasters were in Asia. 82% of all lives lost in disasters since 1997, are in Asian countries.
The Government of Myanmar, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations have released the first comprehensive report covering the impact of Cyclone Nargis on the people in the Ayeyarwady Delta and Yangon. Among the highlights:
Two massive natural disasters in two East Asian countries – Myanmar and China – over the past five weeks have brought home just how quickly and dramatically life and livelihoods can be destroyed. Our experts in natural disaster recovery and reconstruction know this only too well.
I had the chance today to attend a speech by ASEAN's (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretary General, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, right after he had met with the Bank's President Bob Zoellick. He told us they discussed ways to increase the cooperation between the two organizations, but the most interesting and pressing aspect of it all is that they talked about specific ways in which the Bank will be helping out the victims of Cyclone Nargis through ASEAN.
As advanced in an earlier post, here's a short list to the webpages for online donations of international NGOs that have a large presence in the country and so are likely to be most effective under the difficult circumstances:
As the official estimate of fatal victims of cyclone Nargis raises to 22,000 --not counting the more than 40,000 missing--, World Bank President Bob Zoellick has just issued a statement:
With winds clocked at over 190 kilometers per hour Cyclone Nargis made landfall in Myanmar on Friday, May 2, about 250 kilometers southwest of the capital Yangon. On Monday United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he was “very much alarmed” over estimates from Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry that over 10,000 people may have died. The New York Times is reporting on the devastation, which comes before a constitutional