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UN urges Asia-Pacific nations to take swift action against climate disasters

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-07-25 15:46

BANGKOK - The Asia-Pacific region faces a critical window to fortify its defenses against climate-induced disasters, a UN report warned on Tuesday.

According to the latest report released by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the region witnessed over 140 disasters resulting in 7,500 fatalities and 57 billion US dollars in economic damage in 2022.

The Asia-Pacific Disaster Report 2023 projected that under a 2-degree- centigrade warming scenario, the region could incur annual losses nearing 1 trillion US dollars or 3 percent of its GDP. Immediate action is crucial to averting this catastrophe and safeguard hard-won development gains as disaster risk threatens to surpass adaptive capacities.

As temperatures continue to rise, new disaster hotspots are emerging, and existing ones are intensifying, said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

"A disaster emergency is underway, and we must fundamentally transform our approach to building resilience," she added.

ESCAP highlighted the need for increased investments in multi-hazard early warning systems, which have the potential to reduce disaster losses by up to 60 percent.

It also urged the region to unite and endorse targeted transformative adaptation measures along with a regional strategy to achieve early warning for all by 2027.

The World Meteorological Organization's early July prediction warns of a 90-percent chance of El Nino continuing in the second half of 2023, potentially breaking temperature records and triggering extreme heat in many parts of the world, including oceans.

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